'Safe' destinations see bookings surge

'Safe' destinations see bookings surge

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The peak January booking period has seen a record rise in bookings for summer holidays in what are seen as safe destinations in the western Mediterranean.

Reservations for summer trips to Spain rose by 27%, compared with January last a year, according to Abta.

Portugal was even more popular, with a 32% increase, while bookings for holidays in Cyprus rose by 14% and those for Malta were up 15%.

“The increased global insecurity has led people to head for tried-and-trusted places, principally which they have been to before, mainly in the western Mediterranean,” an Abta spokesman told the Times.

Other factors include the strength of the pound against the euro, which gives British travellers more spending power abroad, and a trend for booking holidays earlier.

Spain is still the UK’s favourite foreign destination, attracting 12.2 million visitors in 2014, according to the Office for National Statistics, a 5.5% rise from a year earlier.

Hoteliers in the Balearic Islands, the top destination for British tourists in Spain, said that many resorts in Ibiza and Majorca were already heavily booked for July and August.

However, s spokesman for the British Embassy in Madrid issued a warned: “Our biggest concern are those tourists who fail to take out travel insurance. One accident and you or your family can face huge medical bills. Our message is: don’t skimp, get insured.”


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