According to industry analysts, the dollar’s rise fueled already-high demand for Europe this summer, while travel planners have used it as a selling tactic, advising customers that now is as good a time as any to take those postponed trips, with Europe practically on deep discount.
“You’re effectively getting a discount when your credit card bill comes in lower than you expected six months or a year ago,” said Travel agency owner Nicole LeBlanc.
“Clients have been especially excited to return to European travel this year after the long hiatus due to Covid restrictions,” said Laurel Brunvoll, owner of My Unforgettable Trips of Gaithersburg, Md. “The strong dollar this year has certainly helped fuel the travel demand; Europe is much more enticing when the euro is more even with the dollar, and shopping is a major component of many clients’ vacations.”
Strong demand for European travel began before the emergence of the lowest dollar-euro exchange rate since 2002. Those bookings surged, even more, when the currency strengthened.
According to Felix Genatio, a senior business data analyst at Dohop, a travel technology company, sales for flights from the United States to Europe were nearly comparable to demand for flights from Europe to the United States from January to April of this year. However, from May to July, when the dollar begins to climb against the euro, we observed an astonishing 113% increase in sales from the United States to Europe, while bookings from Europe to the United States only grew by 43%.
Per the Dohop statistics, 4.5 million tickets were sold for flights to Europe from the United States in July, compared to a little under 3 million for travel from Europe to the United States. However according to travel advisers, the high dollar does not appear to be deterring American visitors from traveling to Europe, but it is causing a splurge increase once they arrive, which expenditure data has validated.
“As international travel has recovered over the last year or so, we have seen the total amount of money spent by Americans on holiday in Europe’s top destinations increase exponentially,” said Carlos Cendra, director of sales and marketing at travel intelligence provider Mabrian. “For example, for the year up to the end of July, spending in Barcelona and Paris is up by 659% and 529%, respectively, compared to the previous period, August 2020 to 2021.”
With this year’s Christmas travel season projected to be the first big, uninterrupted one since the pandemic began, the strong dollar provides travel consultants another avenue to market holiday travels.
“We are seeing an interest based upon the dollar overall, which I think is also helping offset some of the inflationary pressures that you see, as well,” Tombaugh said. “So while things here can seem more expensive, they’re cheaper abroad.”