Canada Border Services has released their January 2009 Pigeon River U.S. visitation statistics and while dissapointing, they are reflective of the state of the U.S. economy and in particular, the post Christmas season which is traditionally slower. While the fourth quarter of 2008 saw a 5.5% increase in U.S. traffic to Thunder Bay, the first increases since 2002, the low Canadian dollar can be accredited to helping Minnesotans find Christmas shopping values here.
A total of 1503 U.S. residents crossed into Canada south of Thunder Bay, a drop of approximately 18% over January 2008 that saw 1838 residents crossing into Canada at the Thunder Bay entry.
Same day visits fared the best and only saw a 12% decline in travel while the 2 plus night stays dropped 25%. Northern Minnesota is feeling the U.S. economic decline and the January STR U.S. Hotel performance report certainly shows it with average declines of 10.5% over January 2008 and an industry average occupancy rate of only 45% (Smith Travel Research) Some juristictions have faced declines as high as 28% although we have not seen information specific to Northern Minnesota.