Rise of Dollar Triggers More Travels Abroad

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As the United States dollar continues its rise in value, travel packages for Americans are more in demand than it has been recently.

The U.S. dollar has been rising since the end of last year, enabling many Americans going on trips abroad to spend just as much on international travels as they do on domestic trips. The current period is especially an attractive time to travel for many as they are right in middle of an off-peak season.

As of March 3, $1 USD equals 19.5355 Mexican pesos. That is an 8.7 percent lower in value for pesos compared to just a year ago. A rise in interest rate is expected to recover much of the Mexican peso’s value, but it is believed that today’s currency will continue on until the start of the summer this year.

“From a financial standpoint, I don’t think there will be any time that’s likely to be better than now to travel to South America,” said Jorge Gamboa Patron, the director for the Mexico Tourism Board’s L.A. regional office. “A traveler can save at least 15 percent than usual by traveling to Mexico now.”

To utilize a unique period to bolster its tourism sector, Mexico has been making a stronger effort to attract more tourists from abroad by offering affordable travel packages and hosting local festivals across the country.

Even the South Korean won has decreased in value compared to U.S. dollar. As $1 is equal to 1,140 won, more Americans are traveling to Korea than they did in the past.

In December 2016 alone, 66,597 Americans travelled to South Korea, which makes a 15.7 percent compared to the same period in 2015. The number of travelers from the U.S. to South Korea in the entire 2016 also increased by 12.8 percent.

Meanwhile, the number of Americans traveling to Asia and South America also rose by 9.5 and 8.9 percent over the last year, respectively. To better utilize the higher number of tourists to their country, South Koreans have also been offering more travel packages to attract travelers from abroad.

“This is the perfect opportunities for Korean-Americans to make a trip to their motherland to visit families and go on a cruise trip,” said an employee at a Korean travel agency in the U.S. “A lot of tourists are showing interest in Mexico, Brazil and Cuba. We’re also starting to get more inquiries about Korea.”

Some travel agencies are offering packages at a considerably lower price. For example, Liberty Travel’s package to Riviera Maya, Mexico for four nights is rated at just $915, while Friendly Planet Travel’s seven-night package to Thailand is only $1,399. Those two packages were rated at $1,300 and $1,700, respectively.

Those in the travel industry predicted that the current value for making trips abroad will continue until May and that tourists heading to Korea and South America are likely to spend 10 to 20 percent less than they did in the past.

By Brian Choi