On Friday, we reported that the euro was falling against the dollar, making travel from the U.S. to Europe more cost-effective. We then asked several tour operators and agents about their thoughts on the slide, and how they felt it would impact travel to Europe. Here are some of their comments:
President, Uniworld River Cruises, Inc.
"When the dollar strengthens against the euro, this has a strong psychological effect on the perceived value of a European vacation. A stronger dollar...will result in increased passengers from the U.S. to Europe."
President, Virgin Vacations
"People are looking for value...Europe suppliers and hotels will benefit in two ways: Planning for future travel to Europe will increase for the group market, [and] advance summer bookings will increase."
Spokesperson, Collette Vacations
"It's difficult to make predictions, but I think Americans' interest in European destinations will stay strong despite the recent slide of the U.S. dollar, although offers will continue to play a role in their decision process."
President, Travel Bound
"More Americans will travel to Europe while the dollar continues to gain (all other things being equal, of course). And, as a matter of fact, forward bookings to Europe and other regions where the U.S. dollar yields more buying power look very promising."
President, Kensington Tours
"After a 2009 marked by "staycations", consumers seem ready to travel internationally again. A declining Euro in the past two months has certainly helped...The price for an Italian vacation is down by about 5 percent this month compared to October/November."
Executive Vice President, Signature Travel Network
"The recent strengthening of the US dollar versus the Euro is good news for American travelers. The dollar's increased buying power will generate more interest in traveling to Europe this year, and will help motivate U.S. consumers who are 'on the fence' about making a decision whether or not to travel to Europe this year...A stronger dollar will help savvy travel consultants close more sales."
President, Trafalgar Tours
"Our research shows that people have been more concerned with the domestic economic issues than the value of the dollar, which is not usually the case, but clearly this past year has been extraordinary. There is currently a major recovery underway; sales across our product lines are up over 60 percent; and with us being roughly half way through the selling season, any improvement in the dollar will be a welcome boost, but I don't believe it will change the fundamentals much...Traditionally, a stronger dollar will drive more sales but I do believe in this selling year fundamental product value and the broader economics will be stronger influences."
Agent, Pisa Bros. Travel
"The recent fluctuations in the Euro make it even more obvious of the value of a travel agent to any traveler venturing abroad...Let's face it, while the euro may be down against the dollar today, that situation could reverse itself even during the course of a two-week vacation!
The time to travel to Europe is always whenever you can get there. I recommend to my clients they can keep their non-U.S. Dollar purchases to a minimum—and this is easy to accomplish with a little advance planning. They appreciate knowing exactly how much things will cost before they get there. Even though for the time being, it may appear that things are less expensive.
If a client insists on booking directly with a favorite hotel in Paris, for example, many of these properties have smartly put out USD-based promotions to appeal to the American market. And of course, when the dollar is strong, everyone enjoys shopping for those special items that we can only get in Europe."
President, Insight Vacations
"The slide in the dollar always helps sales to Europe: Goods, once you get there, are less expensive, and travelers come back saying the cost of their incidentals, souvenirs, and food was less expensive then they thought—which leads to better future business...I think it will encourage more travelers."