By Humphrey Carter
PALMA

THE Balearic tourist industry may just be on course to save the summer season.
After last week's reports of the sharpest increase in foreign visitors in a decade last month and that the number of British low cost airline passengers flying into the region also rose last month, the Balearics is the top beach destination for tens of thousands of Britons this bank holiday weekend.

According to the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) beach destinations are at the top of the priority list for this time of year with the Mediterranean resorts here in the Balearic Islands, mainland Spain, Turkey, Egypt, Cyprus and the Greek islands the top holiday favourites.

The States is also proving to be popular with Orlando and New York the top destinations, while for European cities, Paris, Amsterdam, Venice and Dublin lead the way.

John McEwan, ABTA's Chairman said: “This weekend is the last great getaway of the summer and I am delighted to see that so many customers are taking the opportunity to head off on holiday overseas as well as the 2 million who will be sampling the delights of our beach resorts and countryside as well as the beautiful cities here at home” ABTA estimates that 1.8 million Brits will leave the country during this Bank Holiday weekend.
Today will be the busiest day, but over the whole weekend the following numbers of people will be leaving the country. In the South East over 420'000 will be leaving from Heathrow, 250'000 from Gatwick, 136'000 from Stansted and 65'000 from Luton.

Meanwhile hundreds of thousands will leave through regional airports including 145'000 from Manchester, 25'000 from Leeds Bradford, 12'000 from Southampton and 65'000 from Birmingham.

In Scotland 116'000 will be flying out from Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen. “NOT THE YEAR OF THE STAYCATION” Monarch, for example, which has committed itself to operating six flights per week to Palma from Manchester and Gatwick throughout the winter to help drive the off season tourism industry, is gearing up for a mammoth weekend, with 100'000 passengers set to jet off to warmer climes this bank holiday weekend – a 10 percent increase on the same period last year.

Huge demand is being seen for Spain and the Spanish Islands where earlier this month Monarch added an additional 22 flights into its flying programme, between 27 August and 05 September, in direct response.

The additional flights, which will operate from Gatwick, Luton and Manchester to Malaga, Alicante and Majorca, have added an additional 4'000 seats in to the market during this key travel period. Commenting on the bank holiday getaway and the additional flights, Managing Director of Monarch Airlines, Tim Jeans said, “We have seen a huge surge in demand for flights to our core Western Med destinations this summer, particularly those to Spain and the Spanish Islands and the additional flights we have added during the last week of the school holidays is in direct response to this. “Monarch's traffic figures have already recorded their highest ever passenger numbers for July, coupled with the highest load factor ever and the sheer number of people travelling this bank holiday weekend, proves that 2010 is certainly not the year of the staycation!” The news has been welcomed by the Balearic travel industry and the local authorities which have been battling to save the summer season.
Attractively priced holiday packages and knock-down hotel offers appear to have caught the eye of the British market along with the Ministry for Tourism's 1.5 million euro marketing campaign across the UK.

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