Foreign Tourists Flock to Yosemite

June 6, 2008 2:54:43 PM PDT
Yosemite National Park not only offers breathtaking sights, but also unique sounds. From crashing waterfalls to babbling brooks to diverse dialects.Robert Pond/Yosemite Visitor: "Certainly a lot of foreign languages, that's for sure."

Many foreign visitors are taking advantage of the weak American dollar by planning trips to popular tourist destinations in the U.S., including Yosemite. Ben and Leah Ponio traveled from the Philippines to spend four days camping with their family.

Leah Ponio/Phillipines: "The peso now has strengthened against the dollar. And so we get more value for every peso. It's the best time to travel in fact for airfare, and for everything, hotels, the whole tour."

Even the nearly five dollars a gallon gas on the way to the park still seems reasonable to many international travelers.

Margoleen Verleg: "In the Netherlands, they are much higher."

Foreign visitors we spoke with say while the weak American dollar makes traveling here a good value, it's the scenery that makes this trip truly worthwhile."

Ponio: "It's grand, and it's priceless as many people would say."

Park officials say it's still unclear exactly how many more foreign tourists will be lured to Yosemite by the struggling U.S. economy because the next visitor use survey won't be conducted until 2009. But the tour buses and translators seem to indicate there is a growing trend.

Adrienne Freeman/Yosemite Park Ranger: "I'm hearing anecdotally and from observation, we are seeing an increase in the number of international visitors."


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