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Published March 30, 2012, 08:42 PM

GF Visitor's Bureau Using Study to Keep Up Canadian Traffic

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - Travelers from across the border give our local economy a big boost each year. Whether it's shopping, dining or taking in local attractions, they like to spend time and money here.

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - Travelers from across the border give our local economy a big boost each year. Whether it's shopping, dining or taking in local attractions, they like to spend time and money here.

A survey tracks all of that info to try to keep Canadian business around.

17-year-old Denee Dawson and her family drove three hours to enjoy three days of shopping.

"I'm a big shop-a-holic and prices are a lot cheaper down here than in Canada so I like to come to shop," Dawson said.

The Dawsons live in Manitoba and make trips to Grand Forks several times a year to take advantage of local attractions, restaurants and reasonable prices.

"I like to shop at stores that we don't have in Canada, so like Victoria's Secret, I spent like all my money there," Dawson said.

"There are things here we can't buy in Canada like groceries. We have Duncan Hines and baking products but you have more variety than we have in Canada," Margaret Boyk said.

According to a survey by the Greater Grand Forks Convention and Visitors Bureau, out of 349 people, 60 percent come to town to shop, and 31 percent come for a little getaway.

"It's a tremendous help to our economy. Not only are they shopping, but they are staying in our hotels, they're eating in our restaurants, they're visiting attractions, in summer they golf so they're spending a lot of money while they're here of course," CVB Executive Director Julie Rygg said.

The survey helps the Bureau determine where to advertise and what to promote in the community.

"Really the focus on the Canadian market is, "Come here, have a great weekend," Rygg said.

30 percent of those surveyed say they spend between $250 and $500 while they are here. A dollar amount that visitors like the Dawsons spend easily.

"If our prices were comparable to what they are here, sure we'd shop at home, eh, but it's just nice to get away. It's a break," Boyk said.

The Visitor's Bureau is also making sure traveler's know about local events so they can plan their vacations around them.

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