U.S. travel demand for Europe expected to continue into 2016
Buoyed by the strength of the U.S. dollar and additional airline capacity on the North Atlantic, the summer season was hot: a record 1.74 million Americans crossed the Atlantic in June, up nearly 8% from the same month last year, according to the European Travel Commission’s Trans-Atlantic Report.
“It looks like this will be a record peak season for U.S. travel to Europe,” said Neil Martin, of Donald N. Martin & Company, which represents the ETC in the United States. “The momentum should continue into this fall, in part because air fares are going down,” with prices on some routes like New York-London down nearly 20% from the same period in 2014.
While air fares rose earlier this year, with peak season fares of nearly $2,000 roundtrip in some markets, “the fares are a relatively small part of the picture,” Martin said. Lodging, meals, and other costs are more attractive, and “when it comes to hotels you have a lot more choices now,” with new types of accommodations like apartment rentals added to the mix.
Agents specializing in European itineraries also saw their business flourish this year.
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