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Victoria tourism industry struggles as travel spending drops

Staff at Victoria Carriage Tours, a horse-drawn carriage company stationed beside the B.C. legislature, say business hasn’t been as brisk as past summers.

“It’s been less busy this summer, compared to past,” said Lucy, an employee signing up customers Thursday. “A lot of business we get is from cruise ship passengers.”

Michael Hill is a jewelry merchant in the Inner Harbour, another traditional hotbed for visitors. He says sales are slower than usual this summer.

“I’ve noticed people spending a little bit less money,” said Hill “I've just started seeing the families out, so the families weren't travelling much in June.”

A new poll released Thursday by Nanos Research shows that more Canadians are planning to spend less on summer travel this year, or are putting vacation plans on hold altogether.

The poll indicates 38 per cent of those surveyed are more likely to spend less this summer on travel. That figure is up from the 31 per cent of Canadians surveyed in 2015 who said they planned to spend less on travel.

Paul Nursey is the head of Destination Greater Victoria. He says the tourism industry in the capital is still likely on pace to match its strong performance in 2022, but it won't exceed that.

“The first half of this year was very strong, but we are seeing some softening,” said Nursey Thursday. “Households are starting to see higher mortgage rates, those types of things.”

Trips abroad are also taking a hit. Fifty-seven per cent of those surveyed aren’t interested in travelling internationally this summer, meaning the tourism industry now hopes locals will make up the difference through staycations or local domestic travel as all Canadians contend with inflation and interest rate hikes.

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