Palma.—In fact, demand for summer holidays is so high, a price war has broken out between the major tour firms.
For example, Thomas Cook is cutting prices by up to £400 as it released research showing that a foreign holiday is the number one spending priority for Britons in 2012.

A YouGov poll of 2'066 people showed that “millions” intend to book a package holiday, according to Cook as it released details of its peak booking season campaign. Mainland Spain tops the list of most popular destinations for those yet to book at 29%.

But, the Balearics remains the popular single destination (24%), closely followed by France, the Canaries and Greece (all at 23%).
Egypt and Tunisia have seen a slight increase as destinations being considered despite the impact of the Arab spring and Italy is expected to see a rise in popularity.

Market research
The research also showed that only 3% plan to stay at home because of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Destinations are the main focus for Cook's new advertising campaign, which sees a range of locations featured in its high street agencies, online and on TV.

The promotion, which broke on TV on Boxing Day, extends into newspapers and radio from December 31.
Cook's UK and Ireland mainstream chief executive Ian Ailles said: “A holiday is, for many households, the biggest annual purchase.” Abta, the Association of British Travel Agents, is also upbeat on the state of the British high street, saying in its annual Travel Trends Report 2012 that several travel companies are investing in and improving their shops.

The organisation added that despite overall shop numbers declining due to consolidation in 2011, 25% of the public said they booked holidays through a bricks and mortar agency, compared with 17% in 2010.

The Travel Trends Report 2012 in conjunction with the FCO also pointed out that British holidaymakers in the middle part of the market will continue to be squeezed in 2012 and are placing ever more emphasis on value for money.

Value for money
These travellers are not, however, necessarily choosing the cheapest holiday but rather one that offers an authentic or specialist experience.
Mark Tanzer Abta chief executive said: “The squeeze on household spending looks set to continue and this is likely to see holidaymakers become more discerning about where they spend their money and what they get for it.” “This presents a good opportunity for travel companies to offer tailored, specialist and authentic experiences, as well as all-inclusive packages for the budget conscious, that provide great value for money,” he added.