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New Brunswick Parks See Drop in U.S. Tourism

December 23, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Tourism operators in New Brunswick, Canada, took a serious hit this year as fewer Americans came across the border, according to the latest provincial statistics.

CBC News reported that border crossings from Edmundston to St. Stephen saw traffic fall by 10% at the peak of tourism season in August, compared to last year.

Statistics released this month by the Department of Tourism show 202,474 Americans stayed overnight in the province up to the end of September down from 218,879 in 2010, a decline of 7%.

The drop in American tourists is hurting small and large tourism operators who depend on U.S. tourists. They say high gas prices and a low U.S. dollar are keeping the travelers away.

Geoff Spear, the owner of Rockwood Park Campground, said he believes there has been a 3% to 4% drop in American campers.

“The main three causes are the gas prices which are very high, the economy between the U.S. and Canada, and the exchange rate is really knocking the numbers down,” Spear said.

Howard Heans, who operates Hardings Point Campground on the Kingston Peninsula, said he’s also noticed fewer American vehicles pulling into his business.

“It’s not only large RVs but small RVs, caravans, that market seems to be drying up,” he said.

Heans said the slack is partly being picked up by Maritime tourists who are staying in the region during their vacations.

Spear and Heans aren’t the only ones noticing a drop in the number of people camping. The number of campsites at provincial parks that were occupied in 2011 was 81,895, down from 86,997 in 2010, a drop of 6%.

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