Barack Obama made his first overseas visit to Europe in April 2011 and during it drew attention to the fact that travelling as an American tourist was not easy in many European countries, including Britain. Seven years after, British citizens have reached their busiest holiday season in years. Tourists from Britain are still less frequent overseas than those from Germany and France, but still finding many convenient alternatives to the UK. This year, more tourists are travelling as American citizens than British citizens, so that travel as an American or American-interest is still possible in all countries.
Even Ireland has enjoyed an increase in the number of American tourists, showing that the erosion of British tourism due to Brexit has not affected Europe as much as people think. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) confirmed that its figures from last summer showed an increase in the number of passengers travelling as passengers, as well as the number of passengers of Air France in particular.
Many countries have signed a pact with the US allowing US citizens to travel abroad in groups without needing a visa. The EU passport is an important tool in this regard. Not only those US citizens who travel alone to Europe, such as those who travel to France to go on holiday with friends, but also those who travel with friends or relatives in Europe to visit them, can use a passport of another country without fear of leaving the Union. Thus, it is easier to do business as well as enjoy European holidays. In this way, there is a new boom of leisure travel across the Atlantic.
US administration officials have acknowledged that travelling by plane may be less convenient, but such is the appeal of going on holiday as an American, even if it is also more expensive. According to Lutz Roehmeyer, president of the Berlin-based company Triptograph said: “The number of passengers buying air tickets to the UK has substantially declined compared to last year but has greatly increased in the US and Canada. US visitors, at least, have developed a high appetite for travel and travel has become a key component of the daily lives of many Americans. This year, the number of UK-based US tourists is expected to increase by about 30%, reaching 700,000 from around 350,000 a year ago.”
One of the reasons for this is that many Americans still believe that London is at the center of British life – a highly inaccurate view. As pointed out in British newspaper, ‘The Daily Mail’, the surge in American tourists seems to be due to the political situation in the UK, with Brexit falling into the EU to the loss of the UK’s seat on the governing body of Europe.
American foreign tourist can feel they no longer need to live in the US, but rather have a holiday in Europe. In this way, some tourists travel for four or five days, going to London or Paris to play tourist, and then using the website aufb.com, which offers information about (British) holidays to other European countries. The most popular destinations for US tourists are Germany, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Ireland, Italy, Denmark, and the Scandinavian countries. According to the hotel website trivago, it is the German and French cities which are visited by most US visitors and had become the hotspots for Americans in the past few years.
Currently, the percentage of the UK’s population which is on vacation in the US is about 15%. In 1995, the amount of American tourists who went to the UK peaked at 220,000 a day and in 2014 reached almost 900,000 per day. According to David Cohen, a professor at the International Center for the Study of the Americas at the George Washington University, only 15 to 20% of British citizens are vacationing in the US, while 70% are travelling with family and friends. This means, that the decrease in British tourists did not have an impact on the US market in the short term.
In a report issued in 2018, several factors were analyzed and the ratings for dealing with Americans were disclosed. In a number of countries, problems still remain for tourists from around the world, especially for French nationals. Luckily, the quality of the English received by travelers in the majority of countries far exceeds the quality of the English in France. One particularly pungent example is in France, where English tourists arriving on a bus in Nice receive waves of greeting from French holidaymakers from elsewhere in the area. A rich source of knowledge, but this kind of exchange is not seen in most of France.