by: Andrew Donovan
Posted: / Updated:
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The Embassy Suites at Destiny USA is offering a 20% discounted room rate exclusively for Canadians who spend the night in Syracuse after the border fully reopens next month.
The incentive proves how impactful travelers are to the region’s largest mall.
A spokesperson for Destiny USA says one out of five (22%) of its shoppers, pre-pandemic, came from Canada.
“Once that border reopens,” said Destiny USA spokesperson Nikita Jankowski, “we’re going to start talking with our Canadian friends and neighbors to the north and they’ll start returning as well by the bus load.” She said bus trips from New York City and other areas have already began coming back.
Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced it would allow the border to reopen for fully vaccinated Canadians on a non-specified date in November. Currently, only people whose jobs are considered “essential” are allowed to cross.
Jankowski says the mall’s traffic is already rivaling attendance numbers before the pandemic, but the traveling shoppers returning is the next big stem to a more normal economy.
“We’ve missed them and we need them back sorely,” said Visit Syracuse President and CEO Danny Liedka.
Beyond Destiny USA, Liedka says “They love the arts. They certainly love our sports here. The zoo. Museums. They are very sophisticated travelers and they realize Syracuse is a hidden gem and they come take advantage of it.”
The economy takes advantage too. Visit Syracuse projects $100 million is spent by Canadians each year.
During the pandemic, Visit Syracuse’s market research showed hesitation for people to travel. With the border reopening, new research is starting for an updated gauge of interest.
“I’m not sure that once those borders open,” Liedka explains, “it’s going to be an automatic rush, but certainly, it will happen at some point. It’s going to be our job to let those folks know it’s safe to come here.”
With money requested from Onondaga County, Visit Syracuse is planning to buy television commercial time on Canadian television.
As the date gets closer, Destiny USA suggests Canadians check the mall’s website for more incentives at its stores.
The federal government did not respond to NewsChannel 9’s request asking for a specific border reopening date.