The US dollar is currently trading at a four-month high against the Euro, making a trip to Europe this summer seem like a smart move. But some travel industry insiders say the robust greenback may not necessarily translate into more Americans crossing the pond for their next vacation, thanks mainly to rising airfares.
Travel website Kayak says US-European fares are up 11 per cent over last summer, which would negate the lure of more affordable accommodation – a 100 euro hotel room will set a US traveler back around $125, as opposed to $132 in August 2010.
Supporting this theory, a spokesperson for Kayak told USA Today that users of its website were searching less for summer flights to European destinations and more for flights to US cities.
Marian Marbury, president of travel specialists Adventures in Good Company, echoed this sentiment, telling the newspaper that interest in its European trips was down, with “more than one person” backing away after seeing a $1,200-plus fare.
According to a spokesperson for travel website Priceline, European summer airfares “are at a 10-year high”. And although economic unrest in Greece has lead to a drop in prices, summer hotel rates have yet to fall significantly, even in struggling Ireland, Italy and Portugal.
US tourists could also be deterred from traveling to the UK this year, thanks to a hike in prices due to this year’s Olympic Games and the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth. The dollar was trading at around $1.57 to the pound earlier this week.
According to USA Today, US Department of Commerce figures show a year-on-year increase in European departures of 3 per cent for the second half of 2011, confirming that travel to Europe has picked up slightly since the rise of the dollar.