By Martin Kelly, Editor, Travel Trends

IN a surprising twist – one that may foreshadow local trends – major United States travel companies are reporting increased demand for international travel despite the ever-looming recession (one day, it will come).

But travel patterns are changing as dollar-poor American abandon traditional high-cost Euro haunts and seek value-for-money destinations. They are also taking shorter holidays and buying more all-inclusive package holidays.

"I have heard a lot of grumbling about the U.S. dollar, but it is not stopping them – travel has become a lifestyle," Pam Edwartoski from Carlson Wagonlit told USA Today.

Amy Ziff of Travelocity added: "More people are travelling internationally, but where they’re going is different."

Summer bookings for countries where the Euro is used – such as Spain, France and Italy – are 15% lower than last year, while bookings are up 16% for Eastern European countries that don’t use the Euro, Ziff says.

American Express confirmed the trend, with spokeswomen Mona Hamouly reporting significant growth in travel to China, South America, Hong Kong, Moscow and St. Petersburg and Russia. Travel Trends: May 8, 2008

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