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The Canadian travelers, who are drawn to the states by a strong Canadian dollar and a loosening of restrictions on duty-free goods, accounted for 1.9 million overnight trips to the U.S. in June alone—the highest level in 40 years, according to Statistics Canada.
Weekend hotel occupancies surged to near-record highs in some markets as well, according to data from STR. Buffalo, New York, reported 90%, 94.7% and 94.7% weekend occupancies during June, July and August of this year, respectively. During those same months, the exchange rate of the Canadian dollar against the U.S. dollar was virtually even at CA$1.03, CA$1.00 and CA$0.99, respectively.
During the last three years there have been 3.1 million Ontario shoppers annually to the Buffalo Niagara area—1.2 million per year on overnight trips and 1.9 million per year in day trips, according to a recent study conducted by Longwoods International.