The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) reports that up to 13 million
Britons will be heading abroad this July and August, with 90 per cent of
those heading to traditional Mediterranean destinations.
British holidaymakers are also benefiting from cheaper prices due to the
eurozone troubles and a strong pound which has increased in value by 10 per
cent against the Euro in the last 12 months.
Victoria Bacon, head of communication at ABTA, said: “The UK is a beautiful
place 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.”
Fears of flooding at historic sites around the country have also kept many
visitors at bay.
David Dawson from the Landmark Trust said some of their sites in Tewkesbury,
Gloucestershire, and Northumberland have seen the worst of the weather.
“Flooding is not something you would expect to have to worry about during the
summer period,“ he said. “People seem to be leaving it longer before booking
– waiting to see what the weather is like before committing.”
British hotels, resorts and campsites are cutting up to 50 per cent off their
high-season prices in an attempt to encourage people to stay and brave the
One holiday park in the Lake District is even offering guests an extra free
night’s stay for every day of their holiday when the rainfall exceeds the
daily average for the month.
Holiday park owners had accused BBC weather forecasters of frightening
visitors away from British seaside resorts, claiming they are issuing
“deliberately pessimistic” warnings.
They said it is having a serious effect on the trade as holidaymakers choose
to travel abroad where they are assured of higher temperatures and constant
Claire Jeavons, who runs the Beverley Park holiday site in Paignton, Devon,
said: “We have had a great start to the season but the bad weather the whole
country is getting, along with the downbeat reporting of the bad weather,
has had a negative effect on bookings for June and July.
“We are already competing with the poor economy and to have doom and gloom
with the weather too, could be catastrophic.”
Sarah Long, spokesman for VisitEngland, said: “Clearly the weather does
influence holiday-making decisions in this country — but we must remember
that unpredictable summers are now predictable. The trend to make last
minute bookings is still strong so people can decide on the day if they want
to do a day-trip or take a short break.”