As many as six million Britons could turn the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee holiday at the start of June into a holiday of their own, says The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA).
One of the leading UK travel websites, lowcostholidays.com, claims that “unreliable and miserable British weather” is a significant factor in a 50 per cent-plus surge in searches and bookings for Jubilee week, measured year on year.
The other important factor is the calendar: as a result of the late May Bank Holiday and that extra day off for Jubilee celebrations, thousands of holidaymakers need little persuading to turn three working days out of the office into a nine-day holiday.
The kids are off school that week too and there are some great value deals to escape dreary UK weather.
The obvious place to find a bargain break is Greece, where operators are stuck with thousands of unsold packages over the next few weeks.
Platon Loizou at Jewel in the Crown Holidays says: “After all the demonstrations, they can’t shift holidays for love nor money; seven nights with accommodation on islands like Zante and Corfu start at £129.”
One leading operator to Greece has launched a remarkable “buy-one-get-one-free” offer to shift a mountain of unsold holidays for the early summer.
Olympic Holidays’ discount campaign to boost sales for May and June includes departures to Cyprus and a range of Greek islands.
“The market is still sluggish, so we’re virtually offering two holidays for the price of one, with reductions of 50 per cent from original prices,” says Olympic Holidays’ commercial director Photis Lambrianides.
Half price – and better – packages are available, which include the tour operator’s charter flights from Gatwick and regional airports including Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow and Belfast.
Seven-night self-catering stays in mid-May on Crete, originally £349, are down to £139. Seven nights on Rhodes, ex-Birmingham on June 6, starts at £185 per adult and £165 per child, against original prices of £445 and £357.
According to lowcostholidays.com, Majorca is emerging as the top choice for families keen to take a break. For Jubilee week, its bookings are currently 60 per cent up year on year. Other popular destinations in demand include Florida, the Algarve and Turkey all up over 55 per cent year on year.
Niel Alobaidi at Hayes & Jarvis, whose biggest destinations for the Jubilee weekend are the Caribbean and Mexico, says: “The Jubilee weekend is really a repeat of the Royal Wedding last year when an extra bank holiday dovetailed with school holidays. The miserable British weather of the past few weeks has really helped as well because it focuses the mind on getting away for guaranteed sunshine. It also coincides with a time when many holidays are cheaper than the summer peak.”