PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. – A weaker Canadian dollar could be keeping tourists away. Randy Wills has owned the Hibiscus House in downtown West Palm Beach for over 10 years. This year something is missing from his bookings.
“Yeah where are the Canadians," Wills asked.
Guests who've been coming from Canada for years and staying for weeks at a time may not be coming this year.
"We're missing regulars. People who have been every January and February and they haven't called this year," Wills said.
Jorge Pesquera of Discover Palm Beaches says close to half of all international tourists to Palm Beach County come from Canada. "They're huge," Pesquera explained. "Canada by far are the single most important international market for the State of Florida."
"We're not up, but we are holding our own," Pesquera said.
Under current exchange rates the Canadian dollar is only worth 75 cents here in the United States. Wills worries higher costs will keep Canadian business away or prompt those visitors to cut their trips short, including his regulars. "I haven't heard from those couples that come every single year so I'm concerned about that," Wills says. "I should probably give them a call."
Wills' is still hoping for a full house this season.
"I think we'll fill the rooms. In the summer time we get a lot of Europeans," Wills revealed. "We've had a fantastic group this year of Europeans, but not many Canadians that's for sure."