London 2012: Millions taking foreign holidays to escape Olympics

07:34 02 April 2012

Millions of Brits are booking summer holidays abroad to avoid the London 2012 Olympics, according to a study of people’s travel plans.

More than a quarter of people surveyed who are planning a trip overseas this summer (26 per cent) said they had chosen their departure dates in order to miss the Games.

A further 10 per cent of holidaymakers said they had changed the dates of a foreign holiday they had already booked so they could get away before the event begins.

According to foreign exchange firm Travelex, holiday dates of around 10 million Britons will be influenced by the Olympics.

Travelex estimates that around four million Britons are likely to head abroad in the five days leading up to the Games in July.

Popular reasons for the “great Olympic getaway” were wanting to escape the visiting crowds or blanket television coverage, as well as people saying they are not keen on sport.

People living in and around London, Weymouth and Windsor were the most likely to say they would be going abroad, while those in Northern Ireland and Wales were the least likely.

Nearly two thirds of those planning to leave the country said they were heading to Europe, with Spain named as the most popular destination.

Travel agent Bridget Keevil of Travel Stop said: “We have had customers who just want to get away from it all while the Olympics are on.

“We have seen a definite rise in inquiries and bookings for that period - some people have said they want to get as far away as possible - even to places like Vietnam and Thailand.”

Some six per cent of holidaying Britons said they had booked their time away to fit in with key sporting events.

Around three per cent of those who are going abroad said they had been left disappointed after being unable to obtain any tickets for the event, while nearly two per cent of those going away are planning to take their children out of school early.

Meanwhile, 14 per cent of people heading abroad said that they would have preferred a holiday in the UK in the absence of the Olympics.

The survey of more than 3,000 people was carried out during the second half of March.

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