Low dollar changes student reading week plans


(Olivia McLeod/Ryersonian Staff)

Annisha Khan spent months working late-night shifts and weekends so she could take a trip to the U.S., but with the Canadian dollar sitting around 70 cents compared to the U.S. dollar, Khan had to cancel her plans.

“I had to pay the cancellation fee, but that still cost me less than what I would’ve ended up paying if I went through with the trip,”  said Khan, a second-year social work student. “Most of my savings would have been spent there so I would rather just wait.

Being dragged down by oil prices and other commodities, the Canadian dollar has plummeted dramatically. For many students like Khan, this is affecting their reading week trips.

Canada is expecting a boost in incoming tourists, but for citizens within the country, the low dollar makes it difficult to travel outside the country, according to Maurice Roche, the chair of Ryerson’s department of economics.

Roche said the exchange rate reflects the price of another currency and as such, it fluctuates. “When oil prices were high and our currency was strong, people were still suffering. They were getting laid off because (exporters) were having a hard time selling items to America.

Muneeb Amir, a fourth-year business student said, “The fact that I can’t even plan a trip to Miami with my friends during the reading week because I’ll be spending almost double the amount is ridiculous.”

However, some hospitality and tourism agencies are offering deals to encourage people to travel at this time. The Disney Cruise Line is currently offering 25 per cent off standard rates for Canadian citizens. American cities like Scottsdale, Ariz. are also giving discounts to Canadians. According to the Scottsdale Convention and Visitors Bureau, hotels and excursions are offered at discounts when Canadians show their “out of town identification.”

Gabor Forgacs, a hospitality and tourism professor at Ryerson, said this is a sign of desperation. “Many (companies) are going to start bending over backwards not to lose Canadian customers,” he said. “This is just an example of a company providing price incentives to keep the market share.”

Forgacs said this situation mostly hurts those who are taking their Canadian-earned dollars and exchanging it to spend in another currency.

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