The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) estimates that 2.1 million will holiday overseas this bank holiday weekend [Friday 27 May to Monday 30 May]. The end of May traditionally signals the start of the peak summer period and as this bank holiday coincides with schools’ half term thousands of families will be setting off for the sun.
Mainland Spain, the Canary and Balearic Islands and Italy are the best-selling short-haul destinations, while Turkey, Egypt and other North African countries have also sold well. Further afield, Florida and New York are selling well with customers benefiting from good value flights and the ongoing weakness of the dollar.
Airlines and tour operators are reporting almost full flights to cities such as Paris, Barcelona, Rome and Madrid. Many less well known destinations served by the no-frills airlines are expecting record numbers to visit particularly in Eastern Europe.
Over 1.5 m will be departing from UK airports with 420,000 from Heathrow, 240,000 from Gatwick, 65,000 from Stansted 65,000 from Birmingham airport, 160,000 from Manchester, 30,000 from Nottingham East Midlands, 61,000 from Luton, 60,000 from Glasgow, 50,000 from Edinburgh and 20,000 from Aberdeen.
In addition more than 600,000 will be travelling over and under the English Channel to France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain including around 70,000 with Eurostar, who have laid on an extra eight trains this weekend.
Martin Wellings ABTA President said: “The summer season gets into full swing this weekend and we are looking forward to a bumper number of bookings.”