Americans a tough crowd to draw

From the Niagara Falls Review:

It was a year to forget for the Niagara Parks Commission.

The provincial agency saw a dramatic decline in foreign visitation in 2009.

Whether it was H1N1, which literally stopped international travel for a period of time, the coolest and wettest summer since 1992, rising fuel prices, or the rception of traffic delays at the border, the parks commission had a rough 12 months.

From May through November, Niagara saw a sharp drop in cross-border travel from the United States.

A 23.6% decline in June resulted in a 13% drop in revenues from U.S. customers in that month alone, said Joel Noden, an executive director with the parks commission.

For the whole year, U.S. border crossings were down, on average, 12.1% — 16.1% for same-day crossings, 7.7% for overnight trips.

He said the launch of passport requirements in June also hurt border travel last year.

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