As US tourists shun London, British shoppers head for New York City

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The Independent Online

There are those who say that Britain's "special relationship" with America is one-sided. That, it seems, is certainly the case this summer - at least in terms of choice holiday destinations.

New figures released indicated that, while US shoppers are staying away from London's high streets, shopaholic Britons are flocking in ever growing numbers to New York to make the most of the pound's continuing dominance over the dollar.

The British capital's popularity among the US public as a tourist and shopping destination has plummeted, according to a survey by the online travel company www.cheapflights.com, which showed that London has fallen from 7th to 15th place in a list of the most popular global get-away locations over the past 12 months.

But, buoyed by the same economic trend which is encouraging Americans to stay away, herds of bargain-hunting Brits are flocking to America in pursuit of cheap deals and a rather more temperate summer climate.

New York & Company, the Big Apple's tourism authority, has released statistics showing that not only are Britons the city's number one foreign visitors but they are coming in ever greater numbers. Last year, 1.1 million eager "teabags" surged through the city's retail districts, a 4 per cent increase on the previous year. On average they each shell out $545 during their stay.

The main destinations sought by US vacationers, on the other hand, are, according to the survey, Las Vegas, Orlando and Atlanta. Commenting on the results, Cheapflights' managing director, Chris Cuddy, said: "London is a perennial favourite destination for US citizens. However, the unfavourable exchange rate has made the UK an expensive choice."

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