It’s about the Exchange Rate: Ever since it was launched in 1980, the World Travel Market, now held in late autumn every year at the Excel exhibition center in London, has established itself as the venue where the UK and European tour and travel industry bell tolls and provides industry participants a first-hand, person-to-person accounting of just how well, or worse, business has been this year, as well as where it is headed in 2018 and 2019.
It’s about the Exchange Rate: All other factors aside, it appears that the currency exchange rate will be the definitive determinant for 2017 and the following year as well. Tour operator brochures have begun to circulate for the past month or so, some packages for next summer are on sale and winter packages for 2017-18 are being picked-up by late bookers. All of us now await end-of-year financial reports.
There is no question that the U.S. dollar and its position against the euro, the pound sterling, the Canadian loonie and the Mexican peso have made U.S. product a hard sell for the past three years. But could this change—particularly for the 28-nation Eurozone and Canada.
At INBOUND, we’ve monitored a good deal of the news coverage of what European and U.S. financial analysts are saying—this includes the actions of the Federal Reserve Board; how the European Union is reacting to political actions such as the UK’s implementation of “Brexit” (the withdrawal of the UK from the EU); and uncertainty over decisions by the Trump Administration that have an impact on foreign trade.
The consensus seems to be that the euro will slightly appreciate in value vs. the dollar and the British pound will likely stay where it is. Meanwhile, the Mexican peso and the Canadian loonie will stay at levels that make them affordable destination alternatives to the United States. Overall, on the basis of the U.S. dollar’s impact, next year looks to be a slightly better year for inbound tourism to North America. Following is a table tracing the value for the past several years of the dollar versus some major currencies. For the most part, these major currencies last year held steady, or improved their position, against the U.S. dollar.