Record 2.4 million head overseas for great summer getaway

Busy weekend for travel as British tourists head abroad for summer holidays

Updated: 

Busiest day in UK's aviation history

A record 2.4 million British holidaymakers are set to travel abroad for their summer holidays this weekend, which for the majority of schools in England and Wales marks the start of the summer break, ABTA has revealed.

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Airports in the South East are expecting an extremely busy weekend, with over 500,000 passengers expected to depart from Heathrow, 335,000 from Gatwick, 136,000 from Stansted and 85,000 from Luton.

There are 150,000 travellers due to depart from Manchester, 70,000 from Birmingham and 55,000 from Bristol. Well over 100,000 will be leaving from Scottish airports, with 70,000 from Glasgow alone.

Other regional airports, ports and the channel tunnel will also be extremely busy over the weekend as hundreds of thousands leave the country. Meanwhile, 58,000 holidaymakers are reported to be heading off to Paris and the South of France on Eurostar over the weekend.

With the Mediterranean dominating the market for families, Spain remains the number one destination for the UK holiday market as the Balearic and Canary Islands lead the way, but bookings to Portugal and Greece are also very strong, as is demand for Italy and France.

For those heading further afield, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Mexico have sold well, while Florida remains the number one long-haul choice for families.

ABTA says that in the UK, travel agents and tour operators have reported strong demand to the West Country and seaside resorts. City breaks are always popular at this time of year for families looking to experience different cultures and architecture. European cities are leading the way, in particular Barcelona, Paris, Rome and Amsterdam.

Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive, said: "This weekend is the traditional curtain raiser for the family summer holidays and I am delighted to report that record numbers will be heading off on holiday this weekend. With so many people travelling, the roads, public transport and ports will be exceptionally busy so we would recommend that people factor a little extra time into their travel plans to avoid any stress or disappointment."

Psst... These are the alternative holiday destinations to visit this summer

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