US-Canada border traffic plummets with new passport policy

Posted Wednesday, September 9, 2009 12:12 PM | Contributed by Jeff

The number of people crossing the northern and southern land borders into the USA has dropped sharply since a passport requirement began June 1. At Martin's Fantasy Island, about 10 minutes from the Canadian border, "our Canadian business is way off," spokesman Mike McGuire says. Nearly one-third fewer Canadian families of four have come for discounted "Canadian Wednesdays" compared with last year, he says.

Read more from USA Today.

Related parks

Wednesday, September 9, 2009 12:20 PM

Well, we were anecdotally talking about this on a previous thread, and here it is. I didn't think it affected the Canadians coming to the US as much, but apparently it does.

+0
Wednesday, September 9, 2009 12:23 PM

I wonder how hard CP has been hit?? It seems like the number of Canucks I've seen this season has been about the same as always.

+0
Wednesday, September 9, 2009 12:26 PM

While driving thrue new york to get to great escape, I noticed a lot of Canadian plates.

+0
Wednesday, September 9, 2009 1:14 PM

I'm still not convinced this is a long-term problem. I would imagine no matter what this policy would have impacted traffic, if even just due to procrastination. "Oh, you guys were serious about that?" :)

It will be more telling to me to see next year's numbers.

+0
Wednesday, September 9, 2009 1:18 PM

I don't see how it won't be a long term problem. Getting a passport or one of the cheaper cards still involves time and money. Doing that for business or extended leisure purposes shouldn't be too much of a problem, but hopping over the border for a smallish (but very nice) park like Martin's, for many people I'd speculate it just won't be worth the hassle.

+0
Wednesday, September 9, 2009 1:34 PM

Maybe. I still think it's too soon to tell. And I also would be curious to know how much of the total revenue for a place like Martin's actually comes from Canadian travelers.

+0
Wednesday, September 9, 2009 1:40 PM

The two most telling statements in the whole article:

On bus trips to Canadian casions:

"Customers tell me, 'I can spend my money at another casino rather than on a passport,' "

On Martin's Canadian business:

"Where it really hurts is the impulse buy. Mom and Dad are sitting at home on a Saturday afternoon and say, 'Hey, let's go to Fantasy Island. Wait, we can't because we don't have … passports.' "

+0
Wednesday, September 9, 2009 1:45 PM

That second statement is only important if they know they generate a lot of business from impulse attendance... from Canada specifically. The first is actually a benefit to the US in that the alternative he spoke of were US casinos.

+0
Wednesday, September 9, 2009 2:09 PM

Absolutely, Carrie - on both counts.

I guess my point was that the word on the streets seems to be that buying the passport isn't worth it to most people looking to cross the border for leisure purposes.

+0
Wednesday, September 9, 2009 2:26 PM

Does anyone else find the fact that they have discounted "Canadian Wednesdays" funny?

I see the hesitation to buy a passport if you live far enough away from the border that it's not likely that you'd go anyhow. For those that live close enough that they'd normally take an impulse visit or two anyhow, I don't understand why they don't just get the thing. I wouldn't let something that simple affect my lifestyle.

+0
Wednesday, September 9, 2009 2:43 PM

Yeah, I just can't see this as being a problem and certainly not a long-term one at that. Like I've said, time will tell. But like kpjb, I find it hard to believe that folks who would normally travel to the US for leisure, won't do so any longer because of a document.

But then, I also think that if the value of US dollar were better, we wouldn't be seeing much of a difference due to this policy anyway. Fewer people would be crossing from Canada for leisure in the first place.

+0
Wednesday, September 9, 2009 2:47 PM

I'm just a lazy douche, and that's why I don't have a passport. For the last two years, I've always told myself I'd do it when I knew I'd be visiting Europe or whatever, but then we didn't act, and I didn't do it. Now in the off chance that I end up in Seattle or something, you bet I'll get one post-haste. In Cleveland, not so much.

+0
Wednesday, September 9, 2009 2:52 PM

I wonder if there is a similar effect on the local attractions (attraciones) here in San Diego. Tijuana has 1.5 million potential visitors. I remember going to a Radiohead concert were it seemed half the cars in the lot had BC plates.

I know the flow of visitors in the opposite direction has dwindled, but I think of lot of that is due to fear as opposed to laziness.

+0
Wednesday, September 9, 2009 2:58 PM

Carrie M. said:
I find it hard to believe that folks who would normally travel to the US for leisure, won't do so any longer because of a document.

And vice versa, of course.

I dunno. If something is easy and requires no thought and it changes to be something that takes initiative and money to do, I think it depends on the importance of the activity to the person. Quick border crosses for realtively mundane leisure activities seem like the kind of thing that people won't bother with to me.

+0
Wednesday, September 9, 2009 3:14 PM

I don't disagree. But I tend to jump off on the side of change is hard and is likely to impact immediate behavior as a result, but generally people adapt in the long run.

In the meantime, I guess our impacted businesses have an opportunity to pick up attendance from the folks who choose to no longer go to Canada for their relatively mundane leisure activities, right? :)

Oh, and I offered a one-directional perspective, because I generally don't really see an increase in US commerce as a result of this policy as a bad thing.

+0
Wednesday, September 9, 2009 3:35 PM

I know my wife and I personally will no longer be going anytime soon. We as a family have gone to the falls for a few weekends. But now I can't afford passports for a family of five. I noticed when the government mentioned it would be mandatory a few years ago the prices went through the roof. At that time we went to Canada and did our best to enjoy the Falls and a few other attractions before they were needed. Now we can't go. Too much money for something I would have to add to our vacation.

+0
Wednesday, September 9, 2009 4:17 PM

Well, the funny thing is, there are actually far more Canadians with passports than there are Americans. My family has always travelled into the US, at least once a year for vacation, and we don't intend to stop. We have our passports, and took advantage of the Martins Fantasy island carload Wednesday a month ago. Had a great time too. The tourist area in Niagara Falls Ontario, is bitching and moaning that they are hurting sooo much, they are not making any money, yadda yadda yadda. Funny thing is, they have it the best out of the entire City. No where else in the City can you go and find perfect, pothole free roads, nice landscaping, etc. Many Americans weren't concerned about coming over here before, and that hasn't really changed much. The special drivers license they have over here is a crock. They have said its not going to replace the passport, and will likely be out of use within a year. So yeah, it has definitly dropped as far as the tourist count goes, but if they want to survive, they'll have to adapt, and cater more locally. Many of the tourist traps in the Falls alone do the community thing once a year, and that's it. Try giving locals a break, instead of hosing them for everything. Anywho, just my thoughts.

+0
Wednesday, September 9, 2009 4:30 PM

Jeff said:
I'm just a lazy douche, and that's why I don't have a passport. For the last two years, I've always told myself I'd do it when I knew I'd be visiting Europe or whatever, but then we didn't act, and I didn't do it. Now in the off chance that I end up in Seattle or something, you bet I'll get one post-haste. In Cleveland, not so much.

You never know when you'll get the urge to head to Pelee Island. I know how you feel though. My passport expired in 2001 or 02, and I keep saying that I should get a new one, but never get around to doing it.

+0
Wednesday, September 9, 2009 4:37 PM

janfrederick said:
I remember going to a Radiohead concert were it seemed half the cars in the lot had BC plates.

Did anybody else read that and the first thing that popped in their head was 'British Columbia'? I almost posted to correct her, before it registered.

+0

You must be logged in to post

POP Forums - ©2018, POP World Media, LLC
Loading...