High dollar could curb P.E.I. tourism
Seafood industry also suffers
A rising Canadian dollar, which some analysts believe will reach par with American currency this summer, is causing problems for businesses that depend on U.S. customers.
The dollar is currently trading at around 97 cents U.S. That means Americans considering a trip to P.E.I. will not see the bargain they would have a few years ago.
Glenda Burt runs a restaurant and bed and breakfast in Kensington. She blames the fluctuating dollar for instability in that business.
"It's been going down every year, just little to no U.S. customers. It really has been declining, which is very unfortunate for us," said Burt.
She said it's fortunate she also runs a meat pie business, with an exclusively Canadian clientele.
"If we didn't have the meat pies, that goes in conjunction with the restaurant and the bed and breakfast, I mean really the business wouldn't be viable," said Burt.
Other business people are having more difficulty. Ted Boutilier is sales director of Future Seafoods Inc., a company that exports oysters primarily to the United States.
"It's going very bad," said Boutilier.
"What's happening is we make a sale based on a certain exchange rate. By the time we get the actual money from the invoice, it could be a thousand, two thousand dollars less than what the invoice was actually for because we lose on the exchange. So that is a real kicker."
In 2008, P.E.I. exported more than $635 million worth of goods to the United States.
Boutilier is heading to Boston this weekend for an international seafood show. His company's focus will be attracting buyers from Europe and Asia, where the Canadian dollar is not expected to be so strong this summer.