When Falls the Coliseum (“a journal of American culture[or lack thereof]) has some information on planning a trip to Niagara Falls (including the person’s own itinerary):
We recently took a summer family vacation to Canada. Did you know it’s a different country? It is! You even need passports. We had a great time in Toronto and Niagara Falls, so I’m giving our readers the full itinerary with brief comments about each item. That should make planning your next summer vacation easier (unless you don’t want to go to Canada, in which case it might make your planning more difficult).
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!
From the Niagara Falls Review:
Passports, the economy and cheerleading might not seem to have a lot in common, but they do.
Just ask Nick Nero, organizer of the 26th annual Festival of Lights Cheerleading Championship competition held in Niagara Falls on the weekend.
Teams from the United States, which in past years have brought a lot of business into the honeymoon capital, are staying home.
That’s because many Americans still don’t have passports so they are staying on their side of the border.
“We are down about 40 per cent all because of passports and the economy in the United States,” said Nero. “We just have to bit the bullet this year and hopefully things will pick up again.”
The three-day event, which began on Friday at the Niagara Falls Memorial Arena, is always well attended by teams from the United States, but that trend has been changing. And, with the American and Canadian dollar being so close in value, there is less incentive for Americans to spend there money here, where they once enjoyed a 20 or 30 per cent exchange rate.
“We are just like any other business in Niagara Falls. Everyone is feeling the pinch right now. At one time we were able to book a thousand or 1,200 hotel rooms, but right now it’s probably around five or six hundred,” said Nero.