Report - U.S. Visits to Europe Up 6 Percent

Trans-Atlantic has released its latest report, noting that while overall travel across the ocean remained flat compared to last June, U.S. travel increased nearly 5 percent in May to 1.21 million visits, according to the latest figures from the Department of Commerce. For the year through May, American visits to Europe are up a strong 6 percent.

Some of this can be credited to the Queen's Jubilee in early June: American visits had been down 3 percent for the year through April; now they are up 2 percent through May, according to the latest preliminary figures from VisitBritain.

London is preparing for big crowds for the Summer Olympics, including visitors from the U.S. But central London hotels and theaters still say their U.S. bookings are down for the Olympic period (July 27–August 12) and especially for the weeks following the games. A record 137,000 people are projected to depart Heathrow on August 13.

But not everything is rosy: American, United and Delta are suspending their non-stop flights from New York to Rome next winter; only Alitalia will fly non-stop. And even Alitalia, a joint-venture partner with Delta, will cut back capacity, by more than 25 percent in December. The U.S. carriers will restore New York–Rome service in the spring. And while the euro-zone crisis seemed to (somewhat) abate, in Italy, the cost of borrowing jumped to 6 percent after Moody’s downgraded its bonds to just two notches above junk. Spain’s 10-year bond costs rose to more than 7 percent; it was downgraded by Moody’s last month to just one notch above junk.