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O Canada: The weak loonie raises tourism hopes

July 22, 2015

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Journalism training at the Canadian Association of Journalists 2015 conference

Recession fears have sent the Canadian dollar to its lowest value relative to U.S. currency since 2009. It’s essentially worth around 77 cents to $1, and some experts actually see that as good news.

Tourism officials in Montreal say they’ve seen more visitors this summer than at any point in the past 80 years, according to the CBC. That’s quite an accomplishment, given that Montreal has hosted a world’s fair and the Olympics during that time.

Only two years ago, the Canadian dollar, known as the loonie, was actually trading above par against the U.S. dollar. And, the drop in the loonie may not be over.

“For the most part we think the Canadian dollar is going to have a lot of trouble. It’s going to be an ugly story by the end of the year,” currency expert Rahim Madhavji of Knightbridge Foreign Exchange told the CBC.

“The U.S. economy is doing well and they’re looking towards raising interest rates, whereas the Bank of Canada just cut rates. It’s a perfect storm for the loonie.”

Canadians who are paid in U.S. dollars are making out particularly well, since the strength of the U.S. dollar against the loonie is the equivalent of a pay raise.

Tourism to popular Canadian cities such as Toronto, Vancouver and Quebec City is likely to be strong among American visitors for the rest of the summer and into the fall.

For story ideas, see how the Canadians in your area are faring now that their dollar is worth less. The drop in the loonie might affect places that Canadians visit, such as Florida and Arizona. If you’re in a border city, are Americans making more trips to Canada?

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