Local tourism groups hope that opening the Canada-U.S. Border to vaccinated Canadian travelers will help boost the tourism industry in central New York City.
Visit SyracuseOnondaga County, the official tourism promotion agency, hopes Canadians will do just that once the border reopens in November. Danny Liedka, President of Visit Syracuse, said Canadian tourists represent a significant portion of local tourism revenue.
“We are really looking forward to reopening this border because it will certainly give us a good peak in tourism,” he said.
The Ministry of Homeland Security announced Tuesday that fully vaccinated Canadians will be allowed to drive or take ferries to the United States during the month of November. The land border has been closed to non-essential travel since March 2020.
The reopening of the borders does not coincide with the high tourist season. However, Liedka hopes the region will experience the full impact by next spring.
Destiny USA spokesperson Nikita Jankowski is confident they’ll feel the impact at the mall this winter. Jankowski said that since Destiny is an indoor entertainment destination, their best season is actually winter.
“I have heard many of our Canadian neighbors say that they are delighted to come, that they cannot wait. So we were hoping that we would see, you know, lots and lots of Canadian guests, ”she said.
Before the pandemic, one in five mall shoppers were Canadian. Jankowski said that with the opening of many stores since 2019, travelers will see a different fate than before the pandemic.
“We have a lot of new things happening here that have opened and will open so we’re excited to be able to share that with everyone,” she said.
Destiny will offer deals to Canadian travelers at the mall stores and at the nearby Embassy Suites Hilton hotel, which the mall owns. The hotel will offer 20% off for Canadian residents once the border opens.
With the pandemic still ongoing, Liedka said ensuring that Canadian travelers know they can travel safely is key to ensuring a resurgence in tourism.
“It will be up to us to make sure our message makes them understand how safe it is to come here, so we need to restore that trust,” he said.