Canadian Cash Accepted in Kalispell - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Canadian Cash Accepted in Kalispell

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KALISPELL -

In 2012, the United States saw a nine percent increase in visitors from Canada, including a four percent increase in spending. This Canadian invasion is having a positive economic impact on the Flathead region this year.

"One of their primary enjoyments while they're down here is the recreational shopping. Our cost of goods continues to be lower than what they can get products for up in Canada," explained Diane Medler with the Kalispell Convention and Visitor Bureau.

Jack Saunders, in retail at Western Outdoor in downtown Kalispell for the last two years, admits sales wouldn't be the same without Canadian tourists.

"We have a very nice business from the Canadian tourism that comes here to the town. It's really an integral part of our store I would say," said Saunders.

At Western Outdoor, Canadian tourists come year-round, but especially during rodeo season to get outfitted from head to toe.

"We also offer Canadians their money at par in the store--you know--without the taxes here that they face up in Canada. Our products are definitely much more inexpensive than if they were buying them in Calgary or Lethbridge or wherever they might be shopping up there," said Saunders.

Moreover, the Canadian government nearly doubled the amount of purchased goods Canadian tourists can take back over the border, duty-free, in 2012.

Medler also points out that Canadians come to Kalispell for extended layovers: spending some time in the Flathead Valley before taking off the tarmac at the Kalispell airport.

Saunders says he believes he'll be catering to Canadian customers for much of the foreseeable future. "I'd have to say the Canadian business is increasing," said Saunders.

Medler also mentioned that Canadian participation in local events and competitions has helped the local economy. This year, twenty-one teams in the Dragon Boat race on Flathead Lake are from Canada.

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