Summer cottage rental boom may be due to 'Trump Slump' in U.S., says owner
Spring may have only just begun, but some rental property owners in St. Martins say their summer bookings are almost full and one thinks President Donald Trump is the reason behind the boom.
In the decade she's been renting a cottage on her West Quaco Road property, Kathi Dunphi said she's never seen demand quite like this.
Dunphi said the bulk of her bookings usually occur near the end of April, but this year is different.
"We were booked up by the end of January, pretty well the whole summer," said Dunphi. "That's never happened before ever."
While some of the bookings have come from repeat customers, Dunphi thinks Trump's presidency is behind the commercial boost.
"So many people have either been turned back at the border or detained or intimidated in one way or another — I believe it's had an effect," she said.
The conversations Dunphi has had with some of those booking her cottage are reinforcing her theory. "Some of the Americans definitely have mentioned, 'We just want to go somewhere stress-free,'" she said.
'Trump Slump' debated
The U.S. Travel Association reported in March it was seeing "mounting signs" of a broad slowdown in demand by foreign travellers to the U.S. It wasn't the only group predicting a drop in tourism, due to unpopular Trump policies.
But whether the so-called "Trump Slump" actually exists was cast into doubt when Statistics Canada revealed Canadian visits to the States surged to their highest level since 2015 in January.
Down the road from Dunphi's property, Madeline Taylor's rental cottage has also seen a boost in early rentals this year.
She started getting inquiries around the end of January, she said. "By really middle of March we had most of it booked."
Taylor said she usually has room for a last-minute booking into July, but that's not the case this year.
But unlike Dunphi, Taylor isn't convinced President Trump is the cause of the early rental boom.
"It's hard to tell," she said with a laugh, "people have their own reasons." Taylor said no one has directly told her Trump was behind their booking.
Adding a little more skepticism to her mind is the fact Taylor saw similar early demand last year.