coin changer canadian loonie

A 20-percent drop in the loonie’s value in the past two years has already helped domestic restaurants, hotels and retailers by keeping more of us locals confined within the country.

Now the loonie’s plunge appears poised to bring back something else: The American tourist.

The number of U.S. visitors hit a four-year high in December, according to Statistics Canada (the latest data available), with the number of U.S. travelers rising by 4.7 percent versus December 2013.

That compares to an 8 percent drop in the number of Canadian travelers heading into the United States.

A decade ago, the number of U.S. visitors to Canada and vice-versa was comparable, or at least in the same ballpark. But as the loonie surged against the greenback during the intervening years, the number of American visitors dropped precipitously.

Numbers have remained low since the Great Recession officially ended in 2009.

But Americans could finally be ready to venture north again, experts say. To start, one U.S. dollar now gets you $1.25 in Canada, as of Monday.

On top of the 20 percent-plus boost to the American tourist’s purchasing power here, they’re starting to make more. Wage growth is being fanned upward among U.S. workers as the world’s largest economy shows renewed vigor at last.

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