Why is Jersey Shore tourism struggling? Blame Canada
CAPE MAY COUNTY — A shrinking Canadian dollar has impacted the flow of tourists from that northern neighbor to popular shore destinations, officials say. But it's getting better.
Diane Wieland, director of tourism/culture and heritage for Cape May County, said Canadians get about 77 cents for every U.S. dollar right now, which translates into less spending power.
"What we are seeing is that fewer new Canadian business is coming into the area, and some of our loyal Canadians are making adjustments in maybe the length of stay or maybe the activities that they participate in to adjust for the exchange rate," she said.
Wieland added "it makes it difficult for people when they have a budget to try to continue and do the same thing."
She said the amount of visitors to the U.S. is down overall.
"We know that in Florida, we were watching the 'snowbirds,' and we saw that there was a decrease there, so we were anticipating that we were going to lose the Canadian visitor, or that they would shorten their stay," she said.
So, how are shore tourism officials keeping dollars flowing, absent the Canadians?
Wieland said officials anticipated a Canadian tourism drop because of the money difference back in February, and began making overtures to midwest residents.
"We have done some advertising in the Ohio area. ... Cincinnati, we did a show there. Also in Pittsburgh," she said.
According to Wieland, they also started working with businesses to develop a coupon booklet or a coupon brochure that would perhaps cash-strapped tourists halfway.
She said Canadians are starting to return to Cape May because Montreal weather has been very hot. And the shore weather did not cooperate earlier in the season.
"I think that it was 19 days of rain in May. I mean, you cannot make that up. They do not tack on another 'May' at the end of the year," she said
Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5