Is Europe Over?
With the dollar getting smacked around bigtime by the pound and the euro, you'd think that travel to Europe would be way down this summer. Anecdotally, we're hearing pretty much the opposite from readers -- our email and weekly Internet chat continue to have a definite Eurocentric slant. And the latest issue of Trans-Atlantic, which monitors U.S. travel to Europe, confirms that travel across the pond continued to grow in July. The magazine expects the summer to end with a 2 to 3 percent increase in U.S. travel to Europe.
But the outlook for fall doesn't look so great, with analysts citing the stock market plunge and worries about the U.S. economy, and an E.U. proposal that would require all American visitors to Europe to register online before travel. That last would be in retaliation to a new U.S. law requiring the same of most European visitors to the States.
Meanwhile, Cheapflights.com, the budget travel search engine, just issued a press release based on searches by its customers, reporting that London and other international destinations are slowly but surely losing ground to U.S. destinations. In July 2006, London was the seventh most popular destination on the site's searches; a year later, it's 15th. Moving up on the popularity index: Seattle, L.A. and -- new to the Top 10 list -- Fort Lauderdale.
I'm curious about this discrepancy. How about a show of hands: Is Europe on your travel radar screen this summer or fall, or has the economy forced you to consider other destinations? And how about our travel coverage? We always try to provide a mix, but would you like us to run more non-Europe stories -- and if so, does that mean you'd prefer more U.S. coverage, or are you looking more toward Mexico, Canada, South America, Asia...? Your answers will help us shape future coverage, so vote early and often.
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