It seems like Edmontonians are planning to stay closer to home this upcoming March Break thanks to an unfavourable U.S. exchange rate combined with Alberta’s ongoing economic struggles.
Maureen Arcila, an assistant team leader at Flight Centre in Southgate, said sales are down from last year.
“I feel that they’re not traveling as much. Our inquiry for March Break hasn’t really been there [like] how it usually tends to be,” she said.
Arcila attributes that partially to the poor exchange rate with the United States.
She said those who are still booking trips are choosing to go elsewhere but are trying to get more bang for their buck.
“They’re definitely traveling to places like Mexico and Cuba. Cuba tends to be the most economical. They’re leaning more towards … all-inclusive [resorts] instead of just doing a vacation to the U.S.,” she said.
“They’re definitely going for more of the family resorts, more of the economical resorts. The luxury resorts aren’t really selling as much as they were last year.”
Laura Ballash is a mother who said she was planning to take her family of four to Disneyland this March Break. But the U.S. dollar changed those plans.
“We just can’t afford to go,” she said.
“That’s going to be a lot of extra money, like about 25 per cent more to go, and it would just be too much for a family of four.”
Ballash said the family had been planning to go for some time but cancelled the trip just after Christmas.
“We had went two years ago. We’ve been saving up to go this year but we’re putting it off at least for another year just because we can’t afford it,” she said.
Instead, her children will be attending camp at the Telus World of Science.
“It’s something fun for them,” she said.
“I’m ok,” nine-year-old AJ said. “We went to Disneyland last year. I’m excited [about camp].”
John Locher said he and his five children will be staying in Edmonton for March Break. Locher was laid off from his job in the oil industry last summer.
“It’s been hard to find work. Usually we try to go out to B.C. and see some family and friends. But it’s not going to happen this year unfortunately,” he said.
“Things are tight and the kids know that with me not working and mom being the breadwinner right now, it’s hard to get out there.”
Locher said the family will instead go to local recreation centres and parks to spend time together.
“They’re ok with it because they know it’s not something that was planned. They’re a little bit upset but they’re happier that we can still do things as a family,” he said.
In Edmonton, students are off March 25 and 28 for Good Friday and East Monday. March Break officially runs from March 29 to April 1.