As the dollar fell on Tuesday to a fresh 15-year low against a basket of major currencies and touched a new record low of over $1.3850, the European tourist industry is starting to feel the effects. Visitors like American Dave Stone are suffering exchange rate blues: “At the beginning of our trip we just figured that was the price to come to Europe and just go ahead and pay it. But as our euros started falling out more quickly, we definitely were a bit more price-conscious in terms of where we’d eat for dinner, try to find local restaurants that didn’t charge quite so much. And the experts say there is no immediate relief in sight for the dollar. They predict that this is a long-term trend that could continue well past the summer tourist rush.
Eric Vergnaud, an economist at BNP Paribas, said: “We do not expect any crash in the euro. We expect the euro-dollar parity to rise towards 1.40, 1.42, 1.43, but to come back downwards to 1.35 by the end of the year.”
But that is little consolation for tourist site operators and retailers as by the end of the year the peak summer holiday season will be long over and right now US visitors are getting scarcer and spending less.