NIAGARA FALLS, Ontario – The number of people traveling between the United States and Canada dropped from May to June, a tourism official said Sunday in Niagara Falls, Ont.
This is the first time in memory the number of tourists declined in the border region between Western New York and Canada, said Arlene White, executive director of the Binational Tourism Alliance.
“That’s frightening,” she said. “This is normally our peak season.”
Tourism officials said there are several reasons for the drop-off, including the disastrous economy and bad summertime weather. Cross-border security regulations that took effect June 1, requiring Americans returning to the United States to present a U.S. passport or other identification card, also contribute to the problem, they said.
“We had a decent May, but June has killed us,” Mike McGuire, a spokesman for Martin’s Fantasy Island on Grand Island, told The Buffalo (N.Y.) News.
Other officials say tourists are receiving misinformation about the consequences of not having proper identification. They are being told they won’t be allowed to re-enter the county, but the only consequence is a written warning, tourism officials noted.