By Humphrey Carter
DESPITE the doom and gloom gripping the Balearic tourist industry amidst fears of one of the worst summer seasons in recent years, the Balearics is still the most popular package holiday and accommodation only summer destination for the British this year.

Over the past week, nearly one million Britons have headed off for their summer holidays. Despite claims that the British love affair with Spain and the islands is over, the Balearics, according to the Association of British Travel Agents, “is the out and out number one destination,” this summer.

Despite the dramatic growth in the non-EU destinations of Bulgaria, Croatia and Turkey, 75% of Britons are still holidaying in Europe with 70% of those, still favouring the tried and tested destinations of Spain, France and Greece.

Nevertheless, the long haul market has done very well this summer. The weak dollar has fuelled a boom in the US holiday market, currently up by 16% on last year.

The Dominican Republic and Mexico are becoming increasingly popular destinations. Cuba is enjoying a 27% growth in the number of visitors from the United Kingdom this summer. Asia is welcoming more adventurous British holidaymakers than ever.

At the end of June, summer holiday bookings in the UK were eight percent below normal.
But, as expected, it has proven to be a late booking summer and high street travel agents have reported a sudden surge in bookings over the past ten days.

The awful British summer is forcing thousands of British abroad in search of the sun.
Peak summer season officially started yesterday in Spain with the first day of the great summer getaway.
Palma airport will handle 4.172 flights between now and Tuesday, making it the third busiest airport in the country.
Extra cleaning and catering staff, passenger care staff and security personnel have been drafted in at all airports in Spain in order to cope with, what is traditionally, one of the busiest weeks of the year.

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