To say that the Olympic Games spells holiday time for Britons may be an exaggeration, but new research by Abta - The Travel Association has shown 19 per cent of the population is taking a break during the Games.
Of these, around two million people will be heading overseas, with Spain identified as the most popular destination. This could mean many people are jumping on ferries from Portsmouth or Plymouth to Santander and other Spanish destinations.
There may be one reason for being slightly cautious about the statistics, of course: The Olympics will not necessarily be the cause of people taking a break. While many Londoners might want to get away from the busy capital and some will be taking time off to watch events they have tickets for, it must be remembered that the school holidays have just started and therefore many people would be off at this time in any case.
The Abta research does acknowledge this factor, with 59 per cent of those going on holiday during the Games doing so because they already do so at this time of year. The proportion going away to avoid the crowds was only 11 per cent.
However, that second factor is naturally likely to be concentrated in London and these people may be among those most likely to leave the UK altogether to avoid the saturation coverage - though of course it will be all over the TV channels in other countries.
Abta's research also noted seven per cent of those going away have been prompted to do so by the bad summer weather and the favourable exchange rate with the euro.
Summarising the variety of reasons for which Britons are heading overseas, Abta's head of communications Victoria Bacon said: "A lot of Britons are also taking a holiday whether that’s because they want some peace and quiet, some guaranteed sunshine or a well-earned break. Many people are also taking advantage of the strong pound and lower prices in the Eurozone."
Overseas travel both to and from Britain rose last year for the first time since 2006, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics.
Britons made 2.3 per cent more visits abroad overall than in 2010, but the figure was 3.5 per cent higher for Europe, while only rising 0.4 per cent for North America and dipping by 2.6 per cent elsewhere.
Posted by Mark Robinson