Loonie Troubles Have Canadians Re-Thinking Travel Plans

Canada's faltering dollar, which recently hit a decade-long low, means those wanting a quick getaway south of the border may have to reconsider.

The Canadian dollar was trading at 70.67 cents U.S at midday Friday, and has spent much of the close of 2015 declining in value.

That means travelers looking to spend time in the States, or any nation abroad on par with the U.S. dollar, will find their money worth roughly 30% less.

That math makes staying put in the Great White North all the more attractive, and staycations, as they are called, look to be more popular options for many Canadians who can make their loonies go further at home than abroad.

The New York Times has listed B.C.'s Southern Gulf Islands and Toronto as among the top travel destinations for 2016.

Last year, according to the Conference Board of Canada, Canadian travel within the country increased by 2.8%, partly because of the weak dollar.

Canadians were also enticed into local travel by major sporting events around the country, like Toronto's Pan Am Games.

The conference board predicts Canada's overnight domestic travel will continue to grow over the next few years, increasing by 2.4% this year thanks to both the low loonie and low gas prices. More visitors are expected to head to Halifax, Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa-Gatineau, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver this year, according to the board.

Whistler Blackcomb, a B.C. ski resort, recorded 90,000 more visits for the fiscal year which just ended, than for the same time period the year before. This is partly due to the low Canadian dollar, though the firm also attributes it to other factors, like plenty of snow for the downhill enthusiasts.

This summer, Banff tourism was also booming thanks to the already low dollar.