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April 23, 2007

Thanks to the falling dollar, this may not be the year to wander through Paris or finally see Rome. But there is a consolation - the guy sitting next to you on the beach this summer may come from one of those places. That's right - brace yourselves for a European invasion.

At least it might be wise to brush up on a little Masterpiece Theatre. The pound rose above the $2 level last week, hitting its highest mark against the dollar in 26 years. At that rate, a serving of fish and chips and a side of mushy peas would cost an American tourist about - well, a lot more than traditional British food could possibly be worth.

A lot of American exporters benefit when cheaper dollars make their goods more competitive overseas. But U.S. consumers take a hit in the form of higher prices for imported products - and, of course, the tourists with their fancy currency that, unlike our native greenback, is good for more than wallpapering the den.

So remember to smile, be friendly, and remind our visitors that yes, there's more to the United States than New York, Hollywood and bargain prices. And do tell them to come again soon. We need their money.

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