More US visitors in Niagara Falls, Ontario?

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    Yesterday I linked to a Niagara Falls Review article where there seemed to be some optimism for the summer business. I wanted to add my 2¢…

    Last year when June came around, the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) came into effect, and all travelers going across the border needed a passport or some other type of secure document. It hit the city hard.

    The first thing I noticed last year was that there seemed to be very few students around. Each year previously, you’d see huge groups of kids visiting on school trips. I don’t know for sure where they came from in previous years, but they weren’t anywhere last year. I assume that the US schools didn’t bother with the trip. Now, a year later, there have been lots of kids again. I’m not sure if it is back where it was, but it’s more than last year for sure. I’m sure there are a lot of Canadian schools, but there were t-shirts around from US schools as well. Part of the reason will be that many more people have passports. Another will be that it turns out that school groups where kids are under 18 don’t need passports.

    I tweeted last July that Quebec license plates were everywhere. On the other hand, there were very few US license plates to be seen. Anecdotally, there are a lot more licenses plates from US states this year. I mean A LOT more. It isn’t back to the pre-9-11 days, but it is way higher than last year.

    I know that the tourism industry is a lot more complicated than this, but based on these two simple observations, business should be better this year. Let’s hope so!

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