By Humphrey Carter BRITISH holidaymakers are not only tiring of “bucket and spade” holidays but also travelling further afield to get away from the Euro. Bulgaria and Croatia have been the big winners this year in the UK with increases of tourism of 64 and 78 percent respectively, according to the latest figures from ACNielson.

While the ACNielson figures up until the end of August only relate to travel agent bookings, Turkey and the United States have also enjoyed important increases in British holidaymakers this year as they go in search of destinations offering more value for money in resort.

The Balearics does however remain the most popular destination, but travel agent bookings have fallen by 16 percent.
Spokesperson for the Association of Travel Agents, Sean Tipton, said yesterday that British bookings for Spain have dropped by 18 percent.
However, he was quick to point out that the figures do not account for the rise in internet and direct bookings, both of which are becoming increasingly important.

But, nevertheless, he said that Spain is no longer considered a cheap destination and that Britain is gradually tiring of the country where many of the resorts and hotels have remained the same for years. To the contrary, the new resorts in the Eastern Mediterranean offer new hotels and infrastructure combined with the excitement of a new destination.

However, the biggest attraction for the British, and to a lesser extent the Germans, is that they are leaving the Euro zone. “While the Germans simply will not travel if they have not got the cash, (Italy yesterday reported a 30 percent drop in German tourism), the British will simply pay on credit, but they still want value for money and while the Euro remains strong, it's going to harm Euro-zone tourism,” he said. Tipton went on to explain that the main reason for the rise in popularity of the States this year, especially for families, is the weak dollar and that return flights are selling for around £200, “they've never been so cheap.” The same can also be said for long haul destinations like Australia and the Far East, all of which are experiencing a sharp rise in British tourists who can enjoy the benefits of the strong Pound.