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Although the number of Canadians visiting the U.S. during 2001 was down 8%, the number visiting Arizona increased by the same percentage, according to Statistics Canada, The Tribune of Mesa, Ariz., reported.
The “East Valley” of the Phoenix metro area is a favored destination for a large number of Canadians. Many spend several months or the entire winter at one of 25 RV resorts in the East Valley, which includes Mesa, where a total of 13,000 spaces are available.
Typically, 14% of those visiting Mesa come from outside the U.S., and 12 out of every 14 international visitors are Canadians, said Mark McDermott, executive director of the Arizona Office of Tourism.
A total of 315,200 Canadians visited Arizona last year, Statistics Canada reported. The number of visitors from Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, was up more than 12%.
However, McDermott worries that tighter boarder controls, enacted since Sept. 11, could discourage many Canadians from visiting the U.S. “Any changes regarding Canadian access to our country could have considerable impact on Canadian tourism just at a time when we are seeing all of our (promotional) efforts pay off,” McDermott told The Tribune.
Now, Canadians can enter the U.S. with just a driver’s license or similar identification. They are not required to get a visa. McDermott said he plans to travel to Washington this month to argue against requiring Canadians to get visas or other special documentation to enter the U.S.