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CNY Tourism Groups Hope Border Reopening Helps Gives Industry a Boost

The U.S.-Canada border at Pittsburg, N.H., in 2017.
WAER
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file photo
The U.S.-Canada border at Pittsburg, N.H., in 2017. The border will open to vaccinated Canadian travelers for non-essential travel in November.

Local tourism groups are hoping the opening of the U.S.-Canada border to vaccinated Canadian travelers will help boost the tourism industry in Central New York.

Visit Syracuse, the official tourism promotion agency of Onondaga County, is hoping Canadians will do just that once the border reopens in November. Danny Liedka, the president of Visit Syracuse, said that Canadian tourists represent a significant portion of local tourism revenue.

“We’re really looking forward to having that border reopened because that will certainly give us a nice spike in tourism,” he said.

The Department of Homeland Security announced Tuesday that fully vaccinated Canadians will be allowed to drive or take ferries into the United States sometime in November. The land border has been closed to non-essential travel since March 2020.

The border reopening does not coincide with peak tourism season. However, Liedka is hopeful that the region will experience the full impact by next spring.

Destiny USA spokesperson Nikita Jankowski is confident that they’ll feel the impact at the mall as early as winter. Jankowski said that since Destiny is an indoor entertainment destination, their best season is actually winter.

“I’ve been hearing from a lot of our Canadian neighbors that they’re excited to come down, that they can’t wait. So were hoping we’ll see, you know, lots and tons of Canadian guests,” she said.

Before the pandemic, one in five shoppers at the mall was Canadian. Jankowski said that with many stores opening since 2019, travelers will be seeing a different Destiny than before the pandemic.

“We have a lot of great new things taking place here that have opened and that will be opening so we’re excited to be able to share this with everyone,” she said.

Destiny will offer deals for Canadian travelers both at stores in the mall 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 very much ongoing, Liedka said that ensuring that Canadian travelers know they can travel safely is key to ensuring a resurgence of tourism.

“It’s going to be up to us to make sure that our messaging is making them aware how safe it is to come here, so we have to build back that confidence,” he said.