Weak dollar could affect travel abroad

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NEW YORK -- The dollar fell to record lows against major European and world currencies Nov. 19 in the wake of negative financial and trade news, making it more expensive for Americans to spend -- if not actually travel -- abroad.

At press time, the euro had climbed to nearly $1.20, up from $1.16 a week earlier, while the British pound rose in value to more than $1.70, up from $1.67 back on Nov. 13.

Analysts said the dollar's fall against leading currencies -- including the Japanese yen -- is due to several factors, including a recent slump in foreign investment in the U.S., news that Washington would introduce new tariffs on foreign goods, and word that the Federal Reserve plans to keep U.S. interest rates low -- while British rates will rise.

While that cup of latte in Rome and pair of shoes in Paris are now going to cost Americans a bit more, an increasingly depreciated dollar shouldn't affect the price of most tour product to Europe -- in the short term, say industry insiders.

According to Paul Barry, CEO of Bothell, Wash.-based Europe Express, "in the immediate it's not going to affect things. But prices for next summer could be affected, especially with short-break and multi-city operators who update constantly pricing according to exchange rates."

However, most large escorted tour providers have already negotiated pricing for next year with European suppliers, to the benefit of U.S. consumers who have pre-booked their escorted trips well in advance, he noted.

To contact reporter Kenneth Kiesnoski, send e-mail to [email protected].

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