The strengthening dollar, the credit crunch and recession woes have led to a 15% fall in UK-USA flight search traffic, according to Skyscanner. In previous years, there has been an increase in flight searches to the USA at this time of year with many travellers heading to New York or Minneapolis to do their Christmas shopping, taking advantage of a strong pound to bag a bargain. The States have also been a popular ski destination, with world class resorts, reliable snow and good value food and accommodation on offer.However, while flight search traffic remains high on the Skyscanner site, over the last month there has been a 15% fall in searches for UK-USA flights, suggesting that the credit crunch and the weakening pound have finally taken their toll on British travellers, and that they are forgoing their American trips.
It has been speculated in the travel industry that Obama’s victory will lead to an increase in the popularity of the USA in the coming months and years. The Bush administration was widely labelled as the most unpopular of all time, with foreign attitudes towards Americans and America dropping to an all time low. However, the newly elected Obama not only marks a change within the USA itself, but also a change in how the USA is perceived by Brits and the rest of the world.
Barry Smith, Skyscanner co-founder and Director of Business Development, commented on the fall in flight searches for America:
“We know the Obama victory was a popular one, not just in the USA, but also around the world. It’s likely that this will lead to increased interest for the USA in future, but right now, the stronger dollar means the US is about 25% more expensive than it was this time last year.
Despite the current economic gloom, traffic is still very strong, and there’s every indication that people are continuing to make travel a top priority - perhaps because we need holidays to look forward to more than ever. But it’s not surprising that we’re seeing a fall in UK-USA flight searches, and Brits seem to be shopping and skiing closer to home this year.”