ABTA – The Travel Association estimates that 1.8 million British holidaymakers are set to head overseas during the August Bank Holiday (24-27 August). Spain continues to be the UK’s favourite foreign holiday destination for Brits heading overseas during this period, with the Balearic Islands being the most popular area. Turkey and the Greek Islands are also popular along with Egypt and Tunisia for those catching the last bank holiday of the summer and wanting guaranteed sunshine.
A number of factors are helping to drive Brits to the Eurozone this summer. Many travel businesses have reported that the British weather this summer has encouraged holidaymakers abroad. Savvy Brits are also looking to take advantage of the strong Pound/Euro* exchange rate. The Pound is at a four year high against the Euro which means holidaymakers are receiving over 10% more spending power in Eurozone countries compared to last year. In addition it is reported that prices in restaurants and bars in destinations have fallen.
Domestic tour operators are reporting good demand, with traditional UK holiday destinations along the South Coast and South West proving popular as are the Channel Islands of Jersey and Guernsey. Traditional seaside resorts of Blackpool and Brighton are also expected to be busy.
Paris, Amsterdam and Dublin are proving popular for City breaks.
Airports are reporting that: 250,000 passengers will leave from Gatwick, 124,000 from Stansted and 68,500 from Luton this weekend. It is expected that 150,000 will leave from Manchester, 62,500 from Birmingham, 45,000 from Bristol, 10,000 from Cardiff and 25,500 from Leeds Bradford.
ABTA also estimates more than 400,000 passengers will leave from Heathrow** and over 100,000 will be leaving from Scottish airports.
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, Disneyland Paris, Amsterdam, Avignon, Lyon and Bruges proving most popular.
Mark Tanzer ABTA Chief Executive said: “As always at the end of a major sporting event, many people are looking to head off for a break either at home or overseas. Spain and Greece continue to be popular with many holidaymakers taking advantage of the strong Pound, which is at a four year high against the Euro, as well as the fact that prices in bars and restaurants have come down.”
*Post Office branch exchange rates (22 August) reveal sterling to be running at its highest rate in 4 years currently €1.23.
**Estimates based on 2011 data.