Despite a relatively weak Canadian dollar, Whatcom County continues to see plenty of Canadian visitors.
More than 5.3 million people have traveled southbound through the five Whatcom County border crossings in 2018 through May, according to data collected by Western Washington University's Border Policy Research Institute.
That's a 16 percent increase compared to the first five months of 2017. It's also the highest January-through-May total since 2014, when the Canadian dollar was at par with the U.S. dollar. Currently the Canadian dollar is around 75 cents compared to the U.S. dollar.
Gas prices are probably still one factor in the increased traffic, said Laurie Trautman, director at the Border Policy Research Institute. Gas prices in Vancouver, B.C., were around $4.60 a gallon in U.S. dollars in early May, while Bellingham gas prices were about $1 less per gallon.
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The Border Policy Research Institute is currently doing a survey at the border about the destination habits of southbound travelers, which could provide some insight about the recent surge in border traffic.