With the majority of English schools breaking up on Friday, last weekend once again proved one of the major getaway weekends of the year. With the weather at home proving as unpredictable as ever ABTA, the Association for British Travel Agents, estimated that 1.9 million Brits headed overseas between the 23rd and 26th July. Traffic through the main airports was very busy with 440,000 leaving from Heathrow, 250,000 from Gatwick, 139,000 from Stansted, 150,000 from Manchester, 65,000 from Birmingham, 65,000 from Luton and 33,000 from East Midlands. One Hundred and twenty-seven thousand will leave from the main Scottish airports, Edinburgh and Glasgow. In addition hundreds of thousands will be heading out through regional airports and over or under the channel.
Top destinations for short-haul breaks include Turkey, Greece, Egypt, the Canary and Balearic Islands and mainland Spain. Long-haul destinations like Koh Samui , Thailand, Dubai and Florida, are also popular.
The pound offers better value against the euro than last year and many late bookers were able to take advantage of some excellent deals in the traditional eurozone favourites. The recession has also caused many restaurants and bars in the eurozone to llower their prices, making days and nights out that bit cheaper.
Spain is still the number one destination, with the Ibiza selling well. Turkey and Egypt have seen significant growth and the USA has performed better than many of its competitors. As predicted, all-inclusive holidays remain especially popular with families looking to control budgets.
John McEwan, ABTA Chairman, said: “I am delighted to see hundreds of thousands of us heading overseas this weekend, the traditional curtain-raiser to the summer season. With prices having fallen in the eurozone and an improved exchange rate on last year, holidaymakers will get a pleasant surprise when they arrive in resort and head for local restaurants and bars”