ABTA Members Report Exodus from Washout Weather
We all love to grumble about the British weather and with the Met Office reporting the wettest June since records began in 1910, British holidaymakers perhaps have more reason than usual. So millions are saying enough is enough, giving up on the unreliable British summer weather and heading off overseas with travel companies reporting a 20% increase in holiday searches in June.
ABTA estimates that up to 13 million UK holidaymakers will be heading overseas in July and August. 90% of these will be heading to countries around the Mediterranean where many British holidaymakers are also benefiting from cheaper prices due to the Eurozone troubles and a strong pound which has increased in value by 10% against the Euro in the last twelve months.
Of course fair weather isn’t the only reason to holiday at home and with the Olympics rapidly approaching, ABTA research earlier this year found that 3 million people in the UK are intending to attend Olympic events in London and around the UK with a further 1 million foreign visitors attending the games. 9% said they would also be looking to take a holiday in the UK when the Olympics are on.
Tour operators and travel agents are clearly seeing the silver lining in Britain’s grey clouds with Thomson seeing a 20% increase year on year increase in online searches last month and an independent study for Thomas Cook earlier this year finding that bad weather makes one in five Brits think about booking a holiday and online travel agent On the Beach reporting a 20% rise in sales of holidays to destinations across Europe over the past couple of weeks.
Victoria Bacon ABTA Head of Communication said: “The UK is a beautiful country with exceptional holiday appeal but the weather this year has been setting records for all the wrong reasons and it is no surprise that millions of us are looking to head off overseas for more reliable weather and high temperatures. British holidaymakers will also get a pleasant surprise in their favourite Eurozone destinations with the pound 10% stronger than last year. It’s important that people book sooner rather than later as late offers are proving popular.”
Nathan Timmins Head of Online Marketing at Thomson said: “As the Mediterranean enjoys temperatures in the late 20s and early 30s we’ve barely seen any sunshine this summer. Over the last month the Balearics, Spain, Greece, Tunisia and Morocco have proved popular as Brits look to escape to sandy beaches, beautiful weather and resorts that they know and love. With rain forecast for the rest of the week we imagine that the website will keep attracting more users, as people look to research and book their holidays or just get some inspiration and take their mind off the rain!”
Alistair Daly Marketing Director at On the Beach said :"The bad weather has clearly had a positive effect on Brits booking foreign holidays and at online travel agent On the Beach we have seen a 20% rise in sales of holidays to destinations across Europe over the past couple of weeks."
Lydia Dearden who runs Thomas Cook's Tour Operator said “We Brits are known for being preoccupied with the weather, but 2012 has been dismal and with it showing no signs of improving we're seeing a lot of interest from people looking to escape to sunnier shores. We have less holidays available than we did this time last year, which we believe is partly down to the poor weather, and with many of us still hankering for some heat, our advice to those holding out for a last minute deal is to book sooner rather than later to ensure they have the widest choice and can secure the right holiday.”
Gary Anslow Sales Director of Cosmos Holidays said: “The bad weather in the UK is just one of many factors making an impact on sales at the moment; the Olympics, the football, the economy, and the Euro being others to consider. Our focus has been to provide our customers with the flexibility of a broader choice of flights, departure airports and different length of stays to suit them - this is the main factor driving our sales performance at the moment."
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Provisional Met Office figures for June show double the average amount of rain has fallen, making it the wettest June since records began in 1910.
This is the second record breaking month of rainfall this year, with April also topping the rankings. The period from April to June is also the wettest recorded for the UK.
It is also the second dullest June on record with just 119.2 hours of sunshine, narrowly missing out on the record of 115.4 hours set in 1987. To complete the disappointing picture, it has also been the coolest June since 1991 with a mean temperature of 12.3C.