The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) has released figures which show that British holidaymakers – one of the most important groups in Europe and good travel retail spenders – are increasingly looking to take
vacations in non-Euro denominated destinations this year, with summer bookings said to be down by as much as 15% in the eurozone.
ABTA reports that overseas holiday bookings are clearly down in countries using the euro and market research company GFK Ascent MI claims that its research shows that British overseas vacation bookings are down by at least 12% in total this year.
Spain and Greece are expected to suffer the most as a result of UK consumers' concerns about the recession, jobs and the falling value of the pound versus the euro. Meanwhile, according to other research, the incidence of Germans vacationing in the eurozone – another very important European traveller group – is also expected to drop this year for similar reasons.
But while there will be losers, there are also winners, with ABTA now actively encouraging UK holidaymakers to consider vacations in Central and Eastern Europe. ABTA argues that while sterling is at a historic low against the euro, Central and Eastern Europe offer very favourable exchange rates as well as easy accessibility.
ABTA is now promoting the price of travelling to Central and Eastern Europe as similar to those bargains once offered in Spain and Greece in the seventies and it says that this year could see a boom in travel to some of these destinations in the Baltic states and other countries, including Hungary, the Czech Republic, Serbia. Romania and Poland.