The weakened pound is making Britain an attractive prospect for tourists, particularly American visitors, allowing some optimism for the ailing travel business despite the country’s political and economic turmoil.
After two years of harsh recession due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the aftermath of voters’ decision to leave the European Union, at least “part of the travel industry is seeing a glimmer of light in the clouds.” of storm”, explains The Guardian. “Tour operators catering to visitors quietly call it their best month for bookings since October 2019 as US tourists take advantage of the pound’s slide.”
Travel agencies recommend holiday trips not only to England, but also to Scotland and Northern Ireland, not only for the ultimate in affordability, but also as a way to help Britain during this difficult time.
The lowest pound in many years
The value of the British pound is now at a level not seen in 37 years, hitting an all-time low against the dollar this week of just over $1.03 and hovering around $1.12 at the moment.
“The fall in the pound is so catastrophic that at least one respected US travel publication urged readers to book a vacation to Britain not only because it is a bargain, but also to lend a hand,” reports inews .
The post refers to a recently published article by Frommer’s travel guide reporting that “it hasn’t been this cheap for Americans to visit the UK in decades.”
American visitors are especially sought after because they spend more than most others, and with industry insiders forecasting a strong dollar for at least the next year, spending could approach pre-pandemic figures from 2019, when tourists spread £4.2bn worldwide. country.
The melancholy and the optimistic.
For less optimistic pundits, “headlines promising a boom in foreign tourism in the wake of pound weakness are premature,” reports inews. “While visitor numbers to Spain and France are almost at pre-pandemic levels, visits to the UK in 2022 are projected to be 31% lower than in 2019.”
Among the reasons for the pessimism is the country’s “dimmed reputation,” a decline that began with Brexit. “Countries go in and out of fashion,” the article notes. “We will always have Shakespeare and Harry Potter, and probably parliamentary democracy as well, to attract visitors. But our frequent bellicose approach to close neighbors and relentlessly bad headlines have damaged the esteem many countries held for us and caused millions of people to stop visiting us.”
However, the weak pound cannot be so easily dismissed as an incentive. “The UK is for sale… Come see the new king, at half price,” Shai Weiss, chief executive of Virgin Atlantic, told The Guardian.
Get more for your dollar
As Frommer points out, “It hasn’t been this cheap for Americans to visit the UK in decades, and if you’re in the financial position to travel this fall, the climate for getting more for your dollar has rarely been better.”
Airlines are also pinning their hopes on an increase in travelers from the US, particularly for the Christmas and New Year holidays.
In addition to the falling pound sterling, autumn and winter are considered low season and offer cheaper accommodation, short or no waits at major attractions like Buckingham Palace, and festivities that take place in most cities. large and small to celebrate the holidays, including some of the best Christmas parties in Europe. markets.
Royal fans had already given London tourism a boost as they descended on the city in mourning to experience the pomp and ceremony of Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral processions after an unprecedented seven decades on the throne.
“Visitors flocking to central London from as far afield as the US and India for the historic moment are giving businesses a boost at a time when the British economy faces a cost of living crisis fueled by the highest inflation in four decades and predictions of an imminent recession, ”explained AP Europe.
The upcoming coronation of the new King Charles III is also expected to spark renewed interest in the royal family and help boost the travel and tourism industry.
“The collapse of the pound would benefit American travelers eager to witness the beginning of the reign of Charles III,” the Evening Standard wrote, adding that the value of the pound would allow American visitors to see the King at “reduced prices.” .