updated 8/19/2008 2:51:54 PM ET 2008-08-19T18:51:54

The number of American tourists visiting Britain dropped by 120,000 in a year, British government figures showed, amid a general slowdown in the U.S. economy and a weaker dollar.

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The decline in American travelers from June 2007 to June 2008 — representing 4 percent of the Americans who visit the country annually — resulted in an estimated loss of 350 million pounds in tourism revenues to the British economy, according to VisitBritain, the country's tourism authority.

The dollar was trading at nearly two to one last month compared to the pound — a daunting expense to cash-conscious American travelers. But with a recession feared on the way in Britain, the dollar last week was trading at $1.85 to the pound.

"The dollar strengthening against the pound is potentially good news for the British tourism industry," Elliott Frisby, spokesman for VisitBritain, said Tuesday. "But it needs to stay that way for a while to affect travel because people book their trips six to eight months in advance."

The tourism statistics, which were published in the government's international passenger survey on Thursday, also showed a sharp decline in overall tourists to Britain — a 5 percent decline from April 2007 to June 2008.

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