Exchange rate deters US tourists from the UK

The UK’s popularity amongst high-spending American tourists has waned this year as the US Dollar’s exchange rate against the Pound has worsened, according to figures from US travel giant Travelocity.

The UK’s tourism economy relies on US tourists more than visitors from any other country, as Americans stay for long durations and, most importantly, spend the most money while on holiday.

However, the current US Dollar to Pound exchange rate - which sees American tourists only receive around one Pound for every two US Dollars exchanged - has led to US tourists holidaying closer to home, particularly domestically and in the Caribbean.

The UK’s share of visitors from the US in 2007 is down almost 10% on last year, according to Travelocity figures. The decrease has coincided with fares to the UK increasing by almost 19%.

Travelocity’s data is supported by figures from tourism marketing body VisitBritain that shows US visitors to the UK in 2006 - when the US had a stronger economy and the Dollar to Pound exchange rate was better - increased by 13% on the previous year.


However, as the Dollar’s exchange rate against the Pound has worsened throughout the first six months of 2007 US visitors have dropped by 6%.

The drop in visitors has seen the UK slide four places in Travelocity’s standings from 22nd to the US’ 26th biggest tourism market, including both domestic and international destinations.

Travelocity Senior Editor Genevieve Brown said: “There has been a slowdown in the number of US visitors to UK this year, which has happened at the same time as the Dollar to Pound exchange rate has worsened.”

Brown added: “As the UK’s market share has declined, domestic destinations and places where travellers can spend US Dollars, like the Caribbean, have gained popularity.”

US destinations benefiting most from the decision not to travel abroad include San Juan, which has seen its share increase by almost 40% and San Diego, which is up by almost a fifth.

Las Vegas’ share has increased by 12.3%, while New York is up almost 10%.

The Caribbean’s share of bookings has increased by almost 30%, with Bermuda, the Dominican Republic, and Barbados seeing their share increase by 41%, 35% and 19% respectively.