ABTA – The Travel Association estimates that two million British holidaymakers headed overseas for the first weekend of the summer holidays for the majority of English schools (20-23 July). Spain is the UK’s favourite foreign holiday destination for Brits heading overseas during this period, with the Canary and Balearic Islands the most popular areas. Turkey and Greece are also popular and are forecast to have high temperatures and guaranteed sunshine.
Two key trends are helping to drive Brits to the Eurozone this summer. The popularity of Spain and Greece suggests that savvy Brits are looking to take advantage of the strong Pound/Euro exchange rate. Recently the Pound has strengthened to a four year high against the Euro meaning holidaymakers are receiving 11.5%* more value for their money compared to last year. In addition it is reported that prices in restaurants and bars in destinations are falling.
With the weather forecast to improve in the UK, domestic tour operators are reporting strong demand, the traditional UK holiday destinations such as Cornwall and Devon, the South Coast, Norfolk and Suffolk are all expected to be extremely busy including the seaside resorts of Blackpool and Brighton.
Airports are reporting that: 482,000 passengers will leave from Heathrow, 275,000 from Gatwick, 132,500 from Stansted and 70,000 from Luton this weekend.
Over 100,000 will be leaving from Scottish airports with 50,000 from Glasgow alone.
It is expected that 297,000 will leave from Manchester, 64,000 from Birmingham and 45,000 from Bristol.
Other regional airports, ferry terminals and the channel tunnel will also be extremely busy over the weekend with hundreds of thousands leaving the country. Eurostar is reporting that 60,000 will depart the UK this weekend with the destinations of Paris, Amsterdam and Lyon proving most popular.
Mark Tanzer ABTA Chief Executive said: “This weekend marks the start of the summer holiday getaway and is expected to be one of the busiest of the year at UK airports, with thousands also arriving for the Olympics. Eurozone destinations are proving popular with holidaymakers looking to take advantage of the pound’s strengthening against the Euro, coupled with the fact that many bars and restaurants have lowered their prices.”