ABTA – The Travel Association estimates that two million British holidaymakers are set to head overseas this weekend for the first weekend of the summer holidays for the majority of schools in England (26-29 July). Spain remains the number one destination for British holidaymakers with the Balearic and Canary Islands selling especially well, other Mediterranean destinations especially Greece, Turkey and Tunisia are also high on the list.
The best July weather in the UK for years has also boosted domestic bookings, with tour operators reporting strong demand and an increase in last minute bookings. Holidaymakers are flocking to the Channel Islands, Lake District and the traditional seaside resorts of Blackpool, Bournemouth and Brighton.
For those heading further afield the long haul destinations of Mexico and Cuba have all sold well with Florida remaining the number one long haul choice for families.
Airports in the South East are expecting a very busy weekend with 480,000 passengers departing from Heathrow, 276,000 from Gatwick, 125,000 from Stansted and 70,000 from Luton.
Over 100,000 will be leaving from Scottish airports with 50,000 from Glasgow alone.
160,000 are due to depart from Manchester, 66,000 from Birmingham, 70,000 from Newcastle, 50,000 from Bristol and 30,000 from Leeds Bradford International.
Other regional airports, ports and the channel tunnel will also be extremely busy over the weekend with hundreds of thousands leaving the country. Eurostar is reporting an increase in passenger numbers on last year with 70,000 heading off to Paris and the South of France over the weekend.
Mark Tanzer ABTA Chief Executive said: “This weekend sees the start of the main summer holiday getaway and it’s one of the busiest of the year. Millions of holidaymakers will be heading off overseas with the Mediterranean countries attracting the lion’s share of visitors. The recent amazing weather at home has also given a great boost to domestic tourism and many ABTA members are reporting a surge in last minute bookings for holidays throughout the UK. ”