U.S. To U.K./EU Travel: Buy Airfares Now, Boom Expected 2023

With a strong dollar, it’s the best time for Americans to be planning U.K. and EU travel for 2023, particularly when transatlantic travel—in both directions—looks set to be busy next summer.

Americans are booking up travel to Europe and the U.K.

Recent research conducted by Allianz Partners suggests that the strong dollar has encouraged a renaissance for overseas holiday travel. After a two-year pause, the 2022 European Holiday Destination Index shows London in the top spot, up in bookings by 20% since 2019.

For the U.K. tourist industry, bookings from the U.S. are the best they’ve been since October 2019, before the pandemic hit—for visiting Americans, U.K. travel is undergoing a sale.

Likewise, with the dollar reaching parity with the euro, American tourists are also booking up trips to European capitals, notably Paris, Madrid, Rome and Amsterdam. Portugal is up an astonishing 173% on 2019 numbers.

For anyone working in the U.K. travel sector this is great news after a couple of difficult travel years. The average American spends three times the amount than a native British person traveling in their own country domestically. So visiting tourists are more sought after by those in the travel industry, and with Chinese visitors still not allowed to come (the U.K.’s second largest inbound market), that leaves Americans, who are usually the number one incoming market. Likewise, it is suddenly good news for U.S. travel agents after two years of a pandemic lull.

The death of the Queen and the accompanying pomp and pageantry has been widely credited with giving British tourism a boost, with panoramic shots of Scotland and London providing the best publicity for showcasing Britain’s history, buildings and countryside. Sheela Agarwal, a professor of tourism management at Plymouth Business School, said of the funeral: “it’s awful publicity, isn’t it?”—but they added, “it is publicity.”

It’s something that Politico called ‘boom time for brand U.K.’ and likely to increase now that the coronation of King Charles and an accompanying public holiday has been announced for May 2023.

U.K. Tourists Expected To Visit U.S. in Full Force in 2023

Likewise, Chris Thompson, CEO of Brand USA, the organization tasked by the U.S. government to promote international travel to the U.S., is bullish about travel in the opposite direction across the Atlantic in 2023. Thompson said that “the economic headwinds haven’t deterred the U.K. traveler, which is indicative of their affinity for the U.S.”

Tourists from the U.S. account for a large portion of the U.S. tourist industry—in 2019, the U.K. was the number three market for visitors in the U.S. and the fourth with the highest spend.

Brand USA expects visitor numbers from the U.K. in 2023 to beat 2019 arrivals. Thompson added, “since the re-opening of our borders last November, we’ve seen a surge in visitors from the U.K. with 2.5 million visitors so far this year.” (4.4 million U.K. tourists are expected in 2023).

However, Thompson was keen to emphasise how the nature of travel from the U.K. to the U.S. might change in the coming months, post-Covid-19. “For example, we’re seeing travel patterns change from fewer but longer vacations, using loyalty programs, and maximizing their dollars through incentives like restaurant weeks, City Pass, and travel during the shoulder season.”

It’s Advantageous To Book 2023 U.S./U.K/EU Tickets Now

Whilst there might be still eight or nine months to go until people board planes to travel to Europe or London, it is usually best to book international flights well in advance (6-8 months) to get the best deals on those flights as well as those in the destination country (onward flights, trains, etc.).

That means anyone traveling in summer 2023 should be, at the very least, well into their research on destination countries and itineraries. Travelers are highly unlikely to find deals after four months before departure (except if they are very last minute).

Plus, after a very complicated summer of travel, plus the war in Ukraine and the energy and cost of living crises, it’s clear that the next few months are likely to offer more turbulence, rather than less.

The key takeaway should be for travelers to do their research, book early and always, always take out travel insurance against anything and everything happening.

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