ABTA estimates that 1.9 million Brits will leave the country during the Bank Holiday weekend (28-31 August 2009) in what has been a bumper late booking market.

ABTA says that despite the trend for the staycation and reports that UK holidaycamps will sell out this weekend, the Bank Holiday heralds another opportunity for Brits to escape from the uncertain weather conditions.

Friday will be the busiest day. In the South East over 420,000 will be leaving from Heathrow, an approximate 245,500 from Gatwick, 147,500 from Stansted and 72,500 from Luton. Meanwhile hundreds of thousands will leave through regional airports including an approximate 143,000 from Manchester, 21,000 from Yorkshire’s international airport Leeds Bradford, approximately 37,500 from Newcastle, 11,750 from Southampton, 70,000 from Birmingham and 40,000 from Nottingham East Midlands.In Scotland 120,000 will be flying out from Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen.

In addition 70,000 will use the Eurostar for trips to the continent – when the landmark 100 millionth passenger will travel through the tunnel on Friday. A further 500,000 people will be heading abroad by ferry or Eurotunnel.

Beach destinations are at the top of the priority list for this time of year with the Mediterranean resorts in the Balearic Islands, mainland Spain, Turkey, Portugal and the Greek islands the top holiday favourites.

The States is also proving to be popular with Orlando, New York, and Los Angeles the top destinations, while European cities, Paris, Amsterdam and Dublin and lead the way. UK beach resorts on the South Coast, Devon and Cornwall also promise to be busy despite patchy weather forecasts.

John McEwan, ABTA chairman said: “Many families see the Bank Holiday as their last ditch attempt to get a holiday abroad to get some guaranteed sunshine. This is more true this year than ever. Obviously people have been holding onto their money until they are sure they have enough to go away with and as a result we have seen a surge in late bookings.

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