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Monday, July 15, 2024


County Loses Canadian Visitors Due to Border Closure

County Loses Canadian Visitors Due to Border Closure

By Collin Hall

To access the Herald’s local coronavirus/COVID-19 coverage, click here.
COURT HOUSE – Canadian tourism has long been a core part of Cape May County’s summer economy, but this year, the county will miss the familiar Quebec and Ontario license plates that have been a fixture of a typical summer.
Justin Trudeau, prime minister, Canada, announced July 16 that the previous border restrictions that barred most passage between the U.S. and Canada would be extended until at least Aug. 21.
The border restrictions were previously scheduled to end July 16. Another month means that Cape May County will not see Canadian visitors any time soon. For the first time, Cape May County will have to endure a Canadian-free summer. 
On average, Canadians spend more and stay longer than the typical tourist. According to Diane Wieland, tourism director, Cape May County, Canadians made up about 7% of the 2019 summer population at 245,000 of 10.2 million total guests, which is over twice the number of people that live in the county year-round.
Visitors from Quebec are especially big spenders, said Wieland. Although they make up a small fraction of the county’s annual visitor count, they spent disproportionately large amounts of money per stay.
Wieland said they visit “on average seven to 10 days and travel with families.” Even if the travel ban were to be lifted after Aug. 21, the prime time for Quebec visitors is between July 19 and July 31, when Quebec locals celebrate Construction Holiday, a legislated holiday for those within the construction industry, although many outside of the industry take their holidays then, too. Any border opening, in late summer, would miss this popular vacation timeslot entirely.
Wieland said that “this has hurt the hotel and camping industry that have relied on them returning each summer since the late 1960s. With the travel ban in place, it is more and more difficult to fill the void.”
Aug. 21 is not a hard date for the border’s reopening. There was hope that Canadians might be able to visit this summer, but Trudeau shifted the border opening date three times.
COVID-19 infection rates are climbing faster than the previous peaks, in April and May. California and Florida reported record high single-day death counts in the second half of July.
Nanos Research polls show that 80% of Canadian citizens approve of keeping the border closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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