British tourists turn their back on America

Old Jul 22, 07, 10:28 am
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British tourists turn their back on America

Story in the Daily Telegraph, London 21 July 2007. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/ma...merica-121.xml

The number of Britons taking holidays in the United States is falling - despite the fact that the pound is now worth more than two dollars.

Earlier this year, the US Commerce Secretary, Carlos Gutierrez, claimed that international travel to the United States would reach record levels in 2007, in line with a rapid rise in global tourism.

Yet figures supplied by the Office of National Statistics show that, while travel to EU countries has increased from 41.1 million passengers in 2000 to 53.6 million in the 12 months ending in May this year, the number of Britons visiting North America actually fell from 5.1 million to 4.5 million. During this time the exchange rate has improved for Britons by nearly a third, with the value of a dollar falling from 72p to 50p. Trips by Britons to other parts of the world have increased by nearly 25 per cent since 2000.

This trend seems to have continued this summer. Figures supplied by the Civil Aviation Authority showed that 200,000 more people travelled between Britain and the US in June last year, when the dollar was worth around 55p, than they did last month when the dollar was hovering around the 50p mark.

... tour operators to Florida ... have reported that the good exchange rate has done little to encourage holidaymakers.Thomson has responded by cutting the number of holidays it offers to Florida by a third.


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Last edited by essxjay; Jul 22, 07 at 12:49 pm Reason: Copyrighted material deleted per FT TOS guidelines
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Old Jul 22, 07, 10:49 am
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Since 2001, British visitors to the US have become increasingly disillusioned with the stringent security, over-zealous enforcement of regulations and lengthy delays.
They're describing LHR here, right?
However, according to Colin Brodie, the UK director of Visit Florida, it is high fuel surcharges on flights, rather than security, that is putting Britons off ... [/i]

[Comment: Huh? So it's those pesky fuel surcharges, eh? They don't seem to have affected numbers of passengers to other l/h destinations. ]
And let's not forget that the departure taxes and APD from the UK are many times greater than taxes assessed for US departures.


The Daily Telegraph doesn't make a very good case for their (likely legitimate) point...

Last edited by essxjay; Jul 22, 07 at 12:49 pm
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Old Jul 22, 07, 10:58 am
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UK and other citizens: please continue to boycott our country if we continue to treat you like criminals and charge you even more for the experience.

When the harassment stops, I'll be among the first to welcome you here, if you're in a forgiving mood.
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Old Jul 22, 07, 10:59 am
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my quick guess is a political one---protesting the bush gov't?
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Old Jul 22, 07, 11:10 am
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Originally Posted by aamilesslave View Post
They're describing LHR here, right?
No.

Originally Posted by aamilesslave View Post
And let's not forget that the departure taxes and APD from the UK are many times greater than taxes assessed for US departures.
And your point is what, exactly?

Curiously, departure taxes and APD (what's the difference? APD is a departure tax) are not restricted to flights to the US. As I tried to point out, they also apply to other destination countries which are not suffering like the US.
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Old Jul 22, 07, 11:37 am
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Britons visiting the US

Ten fingerprints...stupid as all getout. It's a waste of time. One of the reasons for the long lines at US airports is two fingerprints. Not everybody has ten digits anyways or ten printable digits.

$10 fee: even stupider. How else can I buy a $12 plane ticket that costs $350 after all the flipping taxes.

As for Britons visiting the US, they're either going to come here or they're not. No sense crying about it.
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Old Jul 22, 07, 11:55 am
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I, for one, believe the drop stems from the increased security hassle the U.S. is now labled with, wrongly or correctly. Having work colleagues on both sides of the pond, this issue is constantly brought up by my EU counterparts when deciding meeting locations. Jusy my 2 cents, of course.
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Old Jul 22, 07, 12:02 pm
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A contrarian viewpoint here, based on the premise that every man has his price...

It hasn't been this cheap for British tourists to visit the U.S. since the winter of discontent, and no one had any money to go on holiday then!

If I still lived in Britain and my kids were bugging me to go to a Disney resort, I might consider Florida over Paris based on cost and the opportunity to do some cheap shopping.

Having said that, any boycott or demonstration of resistance to the U.S. in any shape or form has my full support until their foreign policy becomes less one-sided..
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Old Jul 22, 07, 12:35 pm
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I dont think its the immigration alone that puts people off visiting the U.S. Its not normally too bad.
What does put people of is the combination of issues which combined make the experience too much to bear.
Firstly youve got to put up with the hassles of British security, once youve done that, you get secondary screening at the gate, enforced by the United States, as if British security wasnt strict enough. Then the plane has too be cleared to depart by the United States, and all of this before you even leave our shores.
At least if you are flying elsewhere, once youve cleared British security, you are free to get on the plane.
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Old Jul 22, 07, 12:41 pm
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Originally Posted by aamilesslave View Post
They're describing LHR here, right?
LHR and every other UK airport are busier than ever so it can't be UK security restrictions that are causing the problem

Originally Posted by aamilesslave View Post
And let's not forget that the departure taxes and APD from the UK are many times greater than taxes assessed for US departures.
The only departure tax is APD - anything else is a charge imposed by an airline - and for longhaul the same level of APD applies whereever you go in the world. Besides all those folk who go the US have to get home somehow, so they'll be paying the US levels of tax & chargs for their flights home - ie for a round trip it doesn't matter if you are flying US-UK-US or UK-US-UK unless the airline is doing the ripping off

So why isn't the UK carpetbagging the US?
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Old Jul 22, 07, 4:13 pm
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Originally Posted by sandyweb33 View Post
my quick guess is a political one---protesting the bush gov't?

Please tell me that was a joke
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Old Jul 22, 07, 5:19 pm
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Do you really think people will put off trips halfway around the world just because there will be a 30 minute hassle at the airport? Or a 60 minute hassle? Who does that? Is there any credible evidence that the pain-in-the-... TSA or immigration is the cause of this? It's like saying I won't go to London because the cab ride into town to way too long, or I don't like all those cameras on the street. A drop in tourism because of airport hassles? Tough sell.
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Old Jul 22, 07, 5:20 pm
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From personal observation and refering only to UK based holiday makers rather than Europe as a whole (although a lot is relevent to Europe too).....
People who were regular Florida travellers are moving on to all inclusive destinations-notably Cuba in particular and the Carribbean in general.
Part of the reason for this is because "All Inclusive" is the current buzz in the UK travel market. Both landbased and cruising (the only fast growing market sector in the UK travel industry currently). I've had clients say time after time they like meals included and this is something that simply isn't available to them with most US destinations.
US destination marketing and advertising is almost non-existant in the UK media-this too is having an effect.
I recently returned to the UK retail travel sales industry and quickly discovered my error. The market is dominated by the big four (about to become the big two with mergers). They don't want to sell the US as bigger profits are made selling all inclusive destinations-this hits the US tourist industry. I'm getting out as I don't believe any traveller is best served by minimal choice and salespeople with extraordinarily poor sales skills and who are poorly travelled and inadequately trained. Take the travel agency manager who told a friend of mine who is wheelchair-bound that on a MAN ATL LAS connection they didn't need to touch their checked baggage from the time they left Manchester until they arrived in Vegas-an inconvinience to most of us to discover upon arrivial in Atlanta that it isn't the case and customs need to be cleared but a disaster to a wheelchair user. I certainly don't care to work in such an unprofessional industry.
Taxes and security are not the major issue. UK travellers have dealt with travelling with tougher security for longer than their US counterparts-and of course we're a nation acustomed to queuing as a national past-time !
Cuts to advertising budgets promoting the US -ofton previously funded by the now reduced to the bone various tourism organizations in the US like visitor and convention bureaus are a big part of the problem. I've honestly not had a client say they rejected the US as a holiday destination because of security since probably a year after 9-11.
Security isn't the problem-fundng for tourism education and promotion IS !
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Old Jul 22, 07, 6:11 pm
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Originally Posted by flyinbob View Post
Do you really think people will put off trips halfway around the world just because there will be a 30 minute hassle at the airport? Or a 60 minute hassle? Who does that? Is there any credible evidence that the pain-in-the-... TSA or immigration is the cause of this? It's like saying I won't go to London because the cab ride into town to way too long, or I don't like all those cameras on the street. A drop in tourism because of airport hassles? Tough sell.
Yes. Air NZ even started flying to London via HKG instead of adding a second flight via USA (they have 2 daily flights AKL-LHR vv, one via LAX and the other via HKG). This despite the high level of competition on HKG-LHR route in particular. NZ$ is at the highest level in more than 20 years against US$. And yet visitors to California or Hawaii are not growing.

Don't forget, if not US resident the full palaver of entering US, even for a same plane international transit, is considerable.

At LAX T2 I consider myself very fortunate if I get through immigration & customs in under an hour, and then I still have to clear security for the departing flight which can add another hour. SFO isn't quite as bad but can easily take an hour or more to clear immigration & customs. And I am lucky enough to need just the finger prints, eye scan (way to make me feel welcome) and visa waiver. For the poor folk who have to apply for an entry visa it is much worse.

I still visit and transit the US a few times each year, but more and more I avoid it by travelling via Asia or even Canada.
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Old Jul 22, 07, 11:05 pm
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Originally Posted by flyinbob View Post
Do you really think people will put off trips halfway around the world just because there will be a 30 minute hassle at the airport? Or a 60 minute hassle? Who does that? Is there any credible evidence that the pain-in-the-... TSA or immigration is the cause of this? It's like saying I won't go to London because the cab ride into town to way too long, or I don't like all those cameras on the street. A drop in tourism because of airport hassles? Tough sell.
I cancelled a trip to Brazil when they started fingerprinting US citizens in response to our disgusting policies. Cancelled a rather expensive hotel stay too. I made sure both the airline and the hotel knew why I was cancelling and hope they passed the info along.

I also cancelled all travel while liquids were completely forbidden. Again, I told the airlines and the hotels that lost money as a result of my cancellation why I was doing it.

Both of these disgusting policies have been rescinded. I hope those who cancel their trips to the US because of our disgusting, un-American policies will meet with similar success.

Israel gets no tourism money from me because of their treatment of travelers who depart TLV. I've stopped emptying my wallet in the UK because of BAA policies. Yes, Virginia, people do take these stupid policies into account when they go on vacations and have options as to where they choose to empty their wallets.
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