New York City is forecasting that approximately 20,000 fewer Canadians will visit the city this year due to the perfect storm of Donald Trump and the lower loonie. The forecast is based proportionally on an expected two per cent decline in the annual 13 million international visitors (of which 900,000 are Canadians) the city regularly receives.
And while Fred Dixon, president and CEO of the city’s marketing arm, NYC & Company, says each of those “valued” Canadians will be missed, the situation doesn’t constitute a crisis or even a concern, he says, though he admits the agency is monitoring the trend closely.
Dixon and a delegation of New York suppliers called in Toronto, Montreal and Quebec City this week (May 1) as part of an annual sales mission to keep its closest neighbours apprised of the latest happenings in the city.
But before unveiling updates on an extensive list of new developments on the way, from massive renovations at both city airports to Hudson Yards, the largest real estate project in U.S. history currently rising up in western Manhattan, he stepped up to first “face the elephant in the room – that we could face a downturn due to some of the political rhetoric,” including US president Trump’s on-again-off-again travel ban of citizens of certain nations, plus increased scrutiny of visitors trying to get into the country.
Dixon said data suggests that there hasn’t yet been a change in booking patterns in visitors, but there certainly has been in online searches. “These are signs and we are monitoring it closely,” he said, noting that the forecast two per cent decline was slightly better than the three per cent expected across the U.S. in general.
Of greater concern, Dixon says, is the value of the Canadian dollar, which is running about a quarter cent below par with its U.S. counterpart.
Nevertheless, with all that is happening in the city, and in the pipeline, plus the notion that a visit to NYC is “a right of passage” for most Canadians, Dixon is confident that the city will be just fine in “the long game” that is the relationship between the city and its Canadian friends.