Nova Scotia

Canadian dollar is sliding, but most American would-be tourists don't know that

Tourist operators believe the low Canadian dollar will attract American travellers. But those who market Nova Scotia and Cape Breton say Americans don't know about the exchange rate and, for the most part, we aren't telling them.

Tourism Nova Scotia says its research shows most American travellers aren't aware of the exchange rate

There is hope the falling Canadian dollar will encourage more travel to Canada, but Tourism Nova Scotia says its research shows most Americans aren't aware of the exchange rate. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

People in the Nova Scotia tourism industry are expecting big things this season as the price of gas makes travel less expensive and the plummeting loonie discourages Canadians from vacationing outside the country. 

Many tourist operators also expect the low dollar to attract American travellers.

But those responsible for marketing Nova Scotia and Cape Breton say Americans don't know about the exchange rate and, for the most part, we aren't telling them.

"Americans don't normally don't know what the difference in the Canadian dollar is," said Mary Tulle, CEO of Destination Cape Breton.

"They don't think about our currency being different from theirs, so it will be interesting to see again whether this year's (tourism marketing) campaign might actually have a little bit of a focus on that."

Scott MacAulay, who owns a number of inns and hotels through Cape Breton Resorts, said the coming season looks strong. 

"Our bookings are up significantly and we're seeing a fair bit of activity already," he said. 

But MacAulay said there is room for improvement when it comes to marketing Nova Scotia, especially to Americans.

"I think getting the word out, you know, with the budget that Nova Scotia or Canada has, is a little bit difficult," he said.

Dollar isn't everything

The director of marketing for Tourism Nova Scotia, Martha Stevens, said research by her agency shows most American visitors aren't aware of the exchange rate.

Tourism Nova Scotia doesn't spend much marketing that aspect.

Rather, Stevens said the primary objective of the province's marketing "is really to talk about the benefits of what Nova Scotia has to offer and the beautiful experiences that they can participate in here once they are in the province."

Once they do arrive, she said many Americans will stay longer and spend more when they discover the exchange rate.

But calling too much attention to the exchange rate can backfire when the dollar rebounds, she said. 

"We can't build a false sense of dependency on just relying on the advantages of the dollar," she said.

"So we really want to make sure that when the dollar returns to that competitive landscape, we're talking about and creating awareness of all the beautiful things that make Nova Scotia such an enticing place to visit."


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