NEW YORK -- The European Travel Commission here predicts as many as
5.5 million Americans might visit the Continent in the coming
October-to-April off-peak season, inspired to fly by falling
airfares and packaged tour prices.
"Airfares are going down 30% to 40% for departures from late
September on, while prices for packages -- from escorted tours to
basic fly-hotel-car packages -- will drop to super-attractive
levels," said Einar Gustavsson, chairman of the 33-nation ETC and
director of the Icelandic Tourist Board in New York and U.S.
Such a surge would represent a considerable increase over last
year's 4.8 million arrivals, the first off-peak decline since the
It also would signal a return to pre-Sept. 11 trends, when
nearly as many Americans visited Europe from autumn through spring
each year as during peak summer months, Gustavsson noted.
In other ETC news, the Baltic nations of Latvia and Lithuania
joined the ETC as of July 1.