“Will the last one out, please turn the lights off?”

Finding it easier to locate a parking space this week? Or a seat on the bus or train? That’s because over three per cent of the UK’s population are currently abroad on holiday. Figures recently released by ABTA show that 2.1 million people head overseas on or around the weekend starting 24th July. (The bad news is they’ll all be coming home soon).

So where do they all go and how do they get there?

The vast majority will have headed for Spain, which remains the number one destination for the UK holiday market, whilst the Canary and Balearic Islands continue to be popular too. With the pound at an eight year high against the euro, it’s no surprise that other European destinations are popular too, including Cyprus and France.

Greece’s trials and tribulations, if not completely over, are lessening and that in turn is attracting record numbers to holiday there. Despite the Greek banks reopening, the advice from  ABTA remains to take enough euros in cash to cover your holiday needs.

The Chancellor’s welcome decision to reduce Advanced Passenger Tax (APT) is feeding through into the long haul travel market  and although Florida remains the number one long haul destination, the Dominican Republic and Mexico are emerging as strong contenders too. It is forecast that Dubai will quickly recover lost ground too, especially for larger families who were severely penalised under the old APT regime.

The vast majority of these holiday makers flew to their holiday destination. The five London airports combined accounted for over a million passengers including 500,000 departing from Heathrow, 310,000 from Gatwick, 160,000 from Stanstead and 90,000 from Luton. With a further 100,000 having left Scotland from Scottish Airports, those left behind are probably relishing the shorter queues.

Despite the well-publicised disruption caused to travellers going to France, 71,000 holidaymakers used the Eurostar to head for Paris and the South of France.

Of course, all good things must come to an end and the queues will soon be lengthening again as these holiday makers return. But it was good while it lasted, wasn’t it?

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