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Brexit was pitched as the next best thing to Armageddon, but the British tourist industry is reporting that business is brisk, in fact stronger than last year.

According to one luxury operator, the UK’s decision to leave the EU prompted an unexpected surge in holiday bookings for the continent. Sun-hat Villas & Resorts said its bookings in July were 18% up on July 2015, with the most popular destinations being the Algarve, mainland Spain, the Balearics, Tuscany and the Canary Islands.

Holidaymakers appear unfazed by post-referendum gloom, confounding economists’ forecasts with outbound bookings up year on year since the vote on 23 June. Industry analysts GfK today reported summer 2016 bookings in July up 1% on last year, and season-to-date bookings up 5%.

But it’s not just last-minute bookings that were up, as July saw a 14% year-on-year rise in bookings for this coming winter. Summer 2017 bookings are also up 10% on a year ago, although the numbers are small.

Outbound travellers seem undeterred up to now, despite reports of exchange rates as low as €1 to £1 at airport foreign exchange bureaux. Office for National Statistics figures confirmed the pre-vote trend, with holiday departures for the six months to June up 5% on last year and departures over the past 12 months up 7%. Experts had predicted a post-Brexit fall of 3% in bookings. Wrong.