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Tourist flow to US seen hit by air-fare hikes

Newly announced transatlantic fare increases may deal a severe blow to the lucrative flow of tourists into the United States from Europe this summer. Nigel Coombs, editor of the London-based Travel Trade Gazette, said bookings from London are down and the flood of British vacationers could drop considerably.

In the past few years, the United States -- particularly Florida and California -- has become an increasingly popular holiday area for Europeans, led by Britons enjoying a strong pound and bargain air flights.

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The US Travel Service said British visitors to the United States totaled about 680,000 in 1978, 1 million in 1979, and 1.3 million in 1980. Mr. Coombs blamed the strengthening dollar and the hard-hitting budget of Britain's Conservative government as well as the increased fares.

"People don't feel as well off as last year and are insecure about the British economy. They are tending to stay closer to home or travel in Europe," he said.

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