Saturday, October 20, 2007

Dollar falls, Arizona exports increase

The US dollar has been falling against the major currencies. This, in turn, should increase exports and decrease imports. Here in the state of Arizona, our exports include rounds of golf and hotel rooms, so we should expect an increase in tourist activities. Indeed that is what's happening.

When the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa started selling rooms through a Canadian airline last month, it figured bookings would build slowly.

The pricey resort on the Gila River Indian Community hasn't attracted many Canadians in the five years since it opened, and this was part of its first major push to draw more.

The reservations from WestJet Vacations customers arrived practically overnight. In a few weeks, the Sheraton had 43 room nights booked for stays in November and December. At the same time, a Canadian golf vacations company that had already quadrupled its bookings this year reserved another batch of rooms for this fall.

Kristi Mastrantuono, the resort's new director of travel industry sales, would love to take all the credit for the surge in Canadian business. But she knows a higher power is at work: foreign exchange rates...

"The ultimate impact is that America is on sale," said Jacki Mieler, spokeswoman for the Arizona Office of Tourism.

A $300 resort room that cost 360 Canadian dollars two years ago is just 300 today with the two currencies even, a 17 percent savings.

For British visitors, a $100 meal is 50 pounds today, down 13 percent from two years ago. In both cases, the savings are even more dramatic if you go back just a few years earlier.



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