American tourism agencies claim that Americans are traveling abroad this summer as often as before - except to Canada.

According to these agencies, the weakness of both the American economy and the dollar in general has not resulted in Americans' staying at home rather than traveling abroad.

The results of a recent poll of 2230 Americans, made public on Friday by the Tourism Industry Association of the United States, reveals that only 9% of adults plan to spend their vacation at home.

This poll follows another study released earlier this summer by the American Automobile Association (AAA), according to which reservations for European trips have fallen by 5%, while the number of trips to Canada has also diminished. Mike Pena, spokesman for the AAA, stated that “Canada is not the bargain destination like it was before,” and blamed the situation on the strength of the Canadian dollar.

A decline of one million visitors

The number of Americans who are traveling abroad has greatly increased, despite having fallen after the September 11 attacks in 2001. The number of travelers rose from 56.2 million in 2003, to an unprecedented 64.1 million last year, according to the American Secretary of Commerce.

During the same period, the number of Americans who traveled to Canada fell by approximately one million, while the number who traveled to Germany, Japan, Spain and India, as well as other destinations, rose by at least 10%.

The president of the Association of the Canadian Tourism Industry (AITC), Randy Williams, states that this is no surprise. “The [Canadian] dollar used to be worth 65 [American] cents and the cost of gas was quite low; it was therefore quite easy and we were spoiled, there is no doubt about that,” says Mr. Williams. He adds that American tourists used to be considered as “fruits ready to be picked.”