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Border travel down millions from Canada due to COVID restrictions

Border travel is low between Canada and USA
Posted at 10:47 AM, Jul 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-06 10:53:15-04

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WKBW) — Buffalo and Niagara Falls are two of the most prominent hub cities for people to get into Canada. Visit Buffalo Niagara President Patrick Kaler said Canadian tourism makes up much of what Western New York sees in a season.

"We typically welcome anywhere 35-45% of our visitation from the Southern Ontario and the Toronto region," Kaler said.

In the past few years, though, the numbers that were once so high have come down pretty significantly.

"We are seeing a little bit of a hit from the Canadian travelers," Kaler said.

According to explore.gov, these were the 2019 splits of people traveling across the border to and from Canada:

  • Vehicle travel
    • 10,514,815
  • Train passengers
    • 17,116
  • Pedestrians
    • 384,676

And these are the 2022 splits:

  • Vehicle travel
    • 847,658
  • Train passengers
    • 1,096
  • Pedestrians
    • 12,932

"Part of it is still the restrictions from the Canadian government. We're very fortunate to have Rep. Higgins on our side trying to get those restrictions lessened," Kaler said.

In a recent press conference, Higgins said that this is not only limiting travel for some people but it's also hurting both local economies.

"These continued obstacles keep hurting Southern Ontario and Western New York," Higgins said.

At the moment, Canada's COVID restrictions run until September 30. Those could always be extended again, but Higgins has a plan. He wants to work with Canada to make sure border travel can run at its highest capacities and allow for both economies to flourish as they did before the pandemic.

"We're going to develop a coalition of both U.S. and Canadians to get the governments to work together toward the goal of lifting all the restrictions on both sides of the border so that we can get a sense of normalcy," Higgins said.

This article was written by James Kattato for WKBW.