By Humphrey Carter

AN estimated 500'000 Britons rushed out and booked an early summer holiday on Monday to help themselves overcome the post-Christmas and New Year blues according to the Home Office.

Francis Tukes, spokesperson for the Association of British Travel Agents (Abta) told the Bulletin yesterday that, traditionally, this is normally a busy holiday booking time of the year with a host of special offers to be found on the high street.

However, with regards to just how busy the Home Office's so-called “Holiday Day” or “H-Day” as the government has coined it, remains to be seen.
Echoing what the British Consul to Majorca and Minorca, Paul Abrey, said on Monday, she underscored that any economic downturn in Britain will probably not hit destinations like Spain, the Balearics and France. “While the holiday is not recession proof, it is very resilient and people are always going to go on holiday and holiday home owners are continuing to enjoy their overseas property, especially in countries like Spain and France which are close and cheap to get to.” “The strong euro will not hit short-haul euro zone destinations although it may have a negative effect on euro zone holiday locations further away,” she added. “Spain, as always, is proving a top destination and within that the Balearics continues to be extremely popular,” she said. “Although it will be a few days before we get H-Day sales figures,” she added.
The bitterly cold Christmas period, with snow storms, floods and gale force winds, has also helped the holiday industry with Britons eager to book their sunshine break as early as possible, Tukes explained. “Booking a holiday is a great way of beating the post-Christmas blues, which is why we find January to be such a busy time for our travel agents.” “But before booking, customers should ensure their passport is valid,” said Abta's chief executive Mark Tanzer yesterday, referring to new passport and security procedures in the United Kingdom.


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