Holidays to the United States are in increasing demand from British tourists due to the pound’s steady gains versus the dollar, says Bolton-based Travel Counsellors.
The firm is also reporting a surge in bookings for the duration of the 2012 London Olympics, as Britons look to escape the busy Games period.
Travel Counsellors, which employs a network of more than 700 home-based sales agents around the UK, said competitive air fares as well as sterling’s modest rise over the past 12 months have led to the US becoming more popular for summer family holidays this year.
The US jumped from fourth spot to be the second favourite destination for Travel Counsellors customers who booked and travelled in July, behind firm leader Spain.
Turkey dropped from second to third place but Travel Counsellors boss Steve Byrne said UK tourists were still finding good value there due to a 30 per cent rise in the value of the pound against the Turkish lira over the past year. Italy and Greece made up the top five destinations for departures in July.
Travel Counsellors reported a surge in the number of late bookings, with a 23 per cent rise in reservations in July for travel that month and an increase of 18 per cent for August so far.
Mr Byrne said: “People are still being cautious with their spending and are clearly holding on to their money for longer. However, holidays are still high on the list of priorities for the British public and are often the last thing they will want to give up.”
The average spend has remained at just over £2,000 per holiday despite the tough economic climate, he added.
Meanwhile Travel Counsellors said it has seen an surge in getaway bookings over the duration of the 2012 Olympics compared with the same period this year.
It said bookings over the past month to depart between July 27 and September 9 next year have risen 20 per cent compared with those placed in 2010 for this year.
The US is the most popular destination followed by Turkey and Cyprus.