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U.S. to lift Canada, Mexico land border restrictions for vaccinated travelers, what it means for the valley

One of the main drives for the valley's economy is tourism, especially from Canadian and Mexican travelers. The president and CEO of Visit Greater Palm Springs, Scott White, said the land border restrictions being lifted are big for the valley.

"Typically in a normal year, we have over 300,000 visitors coming from Canada down into the destination, and international visitors spend more and stay longer, said White. "So in a normal year, we typically get well over 300,000, Canadians visiting from across the border, and they will spend, you know, anywhere from $230 million to $260 million. And the economic impact of the valley can be well over $300 million."

White said he hopes the valley can achieve between 60% to 70% of that in 2022. The U.S. announcing the restrictions will be lifted in early November. Non-essential travelers from either country who are fully vaccinated would be able to visit via land or ferry crossings. 

Brent Kerslake is from Winnipeg, Canada. Since 2011, he and his wife would usually drive 30 hours to the valley for the winter months. But last year, they had to fly instead and decided to ship their car. 

"A lot of people felt like, so what's the difference between driving over the border and flying over the border, there's really no difference," said Kerslake. "And so that was a bit frustrating for people."

He said he's excited things are going back to normal.

"It's just to have a vehicle there. We've thought about buying a vehicle, but then you know, the vehicle sits there for seven months or more for the year," said Kerslake.

With the change in the border restrictions, White said they can invest their efforts and attracting more Canadians to the valley.

"We have reinstated our marketing efforts into Canada," said White. "So we will definitely be letting them know that Palm Springs is here and we're ready and sunny skies, beautiful temperatures."

The mayor of San Diego, Todd Gloria, said the land border travel restrictions have impacted border regions unfairly.

"Many of you know that the restrictions on land crossings were not applied to air travel, and this announcement today addresses that inequity by lifting these outdated and unfair restrictions," said Gloria. "We can take the next step to reunite our binational border region."

Gloria explains how many businesses, especially near border crossings, will now get a boost in their commerce.

"We know that the holidays are approaching and this announcement will allow the businesses in the area to seize upon the opportunities presented by holiday shopping as well as holiday travel," said Gloria.

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Marian Bouchot

Marian Bouchot is the weekend morning anchor and a reporter for KESQ News Channel 3. Learn more about Marian here.

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