Negative Impact on Canadian Travel?

Old May 26th, 2007, 12:49 PM
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Negative Impact on Canadian Travel?

Hi: In view of the following, do you believe there will be a negative impact on travel to Canada?

1) The recent elimination of the Visitor Tax Rebate Program.
2) High gasoline prices.
3) The requirement that US citizens possess a passport after January 2008.

I would be interested in others' viewpoints.
George is offline  
Old May 26th, 2007, 01:26 PM
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Yes, but I don't think it's just specific to Canada.

1) Most countries don't refund taxes - no tourists get tax rebates when travelling in the USA, for example. And after working all summer last year at a major tourist info centre, my experience is that most travellers had no idea about the Canada GST rebate anyway, until I'd mention it. The reaction was often, "Oh really? I had no idea!" It may affect those who were in the know about the tax rebate, but they are in the minority... based on my experience.

2) This is a global phenomenon. There are few places where gasoline prices are lower than in Canada. USA is one such country where prices are lower. If you want to save on gasoline prices, don't drive. But high gasoline prices are affecting global travel regardless - it's becoming more and more expensive to fly, for example.

3) This will certainly affect US citizens coming into Canada, and will have a negative travel impact initially. But those who won't bother travelling into Canada because of the passport issue will never get to leave their own borders. Those wishing to do so will invest in the passport and will "get with the times", so to speak.

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Old May 26th, 2007, 03:11 PM
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I think it's the high Canadian dollar that has businesses whining *this* year. Although it's nice they have an actual assortment to choose from, instead of having pulling out the old SARS card again.
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Old May 26th, 2007, 04:51 PM
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1) Regrettable, but not stopping my visit.
2) We're whining here in the US, can't be all that much worse.
3) Real pain in the butt, but again, not stopping my trip to Canada. Low dollar value is absolutely preventing me from visiting the UK, where the dollar is worthless against the pound. No vacation worth double the price. And somewhat stopping me from countries with the Euro. In all honesty, you can have a great trip to NZ or Australia for less.
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Old May 28th, 2007, 09:25 PM
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We're glad we visited Canada so often when we did, when the exchange rate, in particular, was much more favorable, all of the taxes were refunded for the hotel and purchases over $50.

As we've always had passports anyway, this has not been an issue. And, a full tank of gas leaving the US lasted throughout our stays.

The major reason we're not heading back anytime soon is the dismal exchange rate.
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Old May 29th, 2007, 04:20 AM
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1. No. While the visitor tax rebate is a nice perk for visitors, I don't think anyone bases their decision to travel to Cda on it. I would never travel somewhere based on a tax rebate - I would go somewhere for the sights/experiences it offers and any tax rebate would be a perk. I actually think eliminating the program makes sense since it spreads out the tax base.

2. Absolutely. The US is Cda's largest tourist base. They are screaming about high gas prices in the States already, wait until they look into what it costs in Cda. I believe a lot of seniors and rv'ers will cut back on their long haul trips to the Maritimes, etc.

3. Absolutely, but not until tourist season 2008. The percentage of Americans who hold a passport is staggeringly low. Obviously those who don't enjoy foreign travel aren't going to shell out extra bucks for a passport to visit Canada. Some may use the deadline as incentive to visit Cda this year?

I think the tourism industry is going to take a hit this summer. Already tourism figures were down in some regions for the early season, also due in part to the poor weather. As other posters have mentioned the high CAD is going to just compound the problem.

George, what are your thoughts on this?

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Old May 29th, 2007, 05:29 AM
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Just a note re: passports: All Canadians entering the US in 2008 will also be required to have a passport. Right now, Canadians entering the US by air must have one, but in 2008, we all have to have one when entering at a border crossing. Incidentally, the Passport Office is overloaded.
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Old May 29th, 2007, 11:58 AM
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I don't think the elimination of the VTRP will affect travel. As others have mentioned, most tourists didn't know about it anyway.

I'm iffy on the gas prices. I think the older folks will tend to reduce their traveling, but not the younger folks. They'll just keep handing over the money and complaining about it.

The passport requirement will reduce travel after 2008. I know a lot of people who currently see Canada and Mexico as just an "extension" of the U.S. - with passports required, they'll suddenly realise that they are indeed separate countries and will stop going.

I read someone comment that they won't be going to Canada because the dollar is "useless" there now. Unfortunately, I do think the exchange rate is going to hurt because people have thought of Canada as a "cheap destination".

Personally, none of the above will keep me from going to Canada because I think it's a great place to go. The only things that would keep me from going somewhere are: war and/or extreme danger or just no interest in the place.
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Old May 29th, 2007, 12:15 PM
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I have heard a number of people commenting that the reason the US and Cdn dollar are being allowed to become so close is that North America wants to implement a common currency similar to the Euro.

I don't know if it is true or not but one of the people who told me this is in government.

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Old May 29th, 2007, 01:36 PM
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Hi: Let me first send a "thank you" for your responses and sharing your thoughts.

As suggested by klam chowder, I'll answer my own questions:

1) Visitor Rebate - It would seem that I over-estimated the number of tourists who filed for the rebate. I have no information as to what percentage of tourists filed, nor the dollar amount rebated each year. I assumed it was a significant amount in that it prompted PM Harper to eliminate the program.
It is usually pointed out that visitors to the US do not receive any sort of tax refund. True, but there is no state that charges 14-14.5% sales tax. I believe that a few states have 7%, but nothing higher.
I always believed that the original purpose of the tax refund was to, in part, compensate visitors who receive no benefit from the combination of GST & PST charged. The elimination of this "perk" will not stop us from visiting Canada.

2) Cost of Gasoline - Again, the high cost of fuel will not deter us from visiting. However, I agree that in some cases visitors may shorten the length of their trip.

3) Passports - I do think there will be an adverse impact next year, particularly among the short time visitor. I'm thinking of working families with two weeks vacation who, as we used to do, plan to drive to Niagara Falls, Toronto, Ottawa, etc. I don't believe that will want to pay $298 for passports - husband, wife, and 2 kids. These folks have no thought of flying to Europe, etc. Again, it's not a factor in our plans.

In summary my wife and I will certainly feel the impact of first two items. We are both retired and have been making one or two visits to Canada every year since 1969. We just returned from 5 nights in Quebec City and will be driving to Newfoundland and Labrador in July for our seventh visit, staying there for 25 days. Home is in a suburb of Philadelphia, PA so we will cover a little over 5000 miles. (Last year's visit to NL was 5280). Even with a sedan, there's a lot of fuel to buy.

As stated above, the exchange rate will be another nightmare!


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Old May 29th, 2007, 03:34 PM
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I assumed it was a significant amount in that it prompted PM Harper to eliminate the program.

It could be that the real savings in eliminating the program will be in not administering it anymore.
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Old May 29th, 2007, 05:28 PM
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I think that if people want to travel and have the time it won't make a difference. We winter in Arizona and prior to that Southern California. We stuck with it even when we had to pay almost 60% exchange. We just didn't do as much when we were there but enjoyed the gorgeous weather. Of course if our Dollar stays close to the US dollar we will lose out again when we sell our home there but we have enjoyed every minute of it and have no regrets.
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