U.S. Tourist Deficit Result of Expo

By Areh MacKenzie

WASHINGTON (CP) -- The heavy U.S. attendance at Expo 67 is the main reason why officials here are forecasting a record deficit of $2,000,000,000 or more in the tourist trade to the U.S. this year.

It was $1,600,000,000 last year.

But they see some silver linings, too.

Figures indicate that Expo 67 was responsible for substantial increases of visitors from Europe and Japan, although those tourists may have done most of their heavy spending first at Montréal.

Canada is a good place to lose tourist dollars to, officials say, because many of them trickle back in one way or another.

They also say that Expo 67 and its impact on the whole North American scene as a tourist attraction should stimulate visitors next year and beyond.

While the anticipated record deficit won't help the U.S., balance of payments problem, there is a provision in the special Canada-U.S. economic relationship that dulls the impact.

This is the ceiling of $2,600,000,000 that Canada accepts on its holdings of gold and U.S. dollars. In exchange, Canada retains borrowing rights for new security issues in the U.S. without having to pay the special borrowing tax many other countries face.


That means Canada will have to take steps to see that earnings of American dollars from Expo are channeled back to the U.S. to avoid an inflated fund of exchange reserves.

American tourists last year spent $678,000,000 in Canada. Canadians spent about $586,000,000 in the U.S.

U.S. officials say that Expo and other Canadian centennial activities seem likely to hold Canadian spending in the U.S. this year to about the same range.

But U.S. spending conceivably could rise by $400,000,000 at a conservative guess. For April, May and June alone -- before the tourist season was really in full swing -- U.S. spending in Canada was $290,000,000, or a gain of $150,000,000 on the corresponding period of 1966.

As partial compensation U.S. tourist bureau figures to the end of August show big increases in visitors from many countries.

Britons visiting the U.S. total 189,420, up more than 16 per cent.

Despite chilly relations between President de Gaulle of France and the U.S., French visitors -- many arriving via Canada -- had surged by 59 per cent to 107,177.

One attraction for next year in San Antonio's HemisFair 68. While it is cautiously predicting total attendance of only some 10,000,000, the organizers who have studied Montréal's Expo thoroughly think Expo has firmly planted the idea that fairs are for seeing.

Thus, even while the HamisFair is deep in the south of Texas, a lot of North Americans and foreigners may want to see it, they hope.

- End of article. Copyright by the Canadian Press, October 30, 1967. All rights reserved.