The number of people who have booked a weekend away gift experience has more than doubled in the last 12 months, according to the Come Travel With Us holiday agency. According to figures released today, there has been a 76% increase in bookings.
Mini breaks to Venice, Paris and Amsterdam have shown to be the most popular destinations for couples to book, whilst Germany and Italy are the favoured places to visit for young families and the over 60s are booking Italy.
It is thought one of the reasons why numbers have shot up so rapidly is the bad weather in the UK, which is prompting fed up holiday makers to go further afield.
The positive increase would suggest that the once struggling economy is finally on the up. Phillip Radford, managing director of Come Travel With Us, says he thinks the strengthening economy is also a contributing factor.
“Back in 2007, when the economy was at its worst, we noticed a slight dip in bookings, however business has really started to pick up in the last 12 months,” he says.
“We are receiving record numbers, which is obviously great for us, brilliant for the economy and even better for the countries that people are choosing to visit.”
He says it was “understandable” that people wanted to save their pennies, when the financial future in the UK looked so bleak. “Now things are looking a lot more positive, people want to escape the everyday hum-drum of life and experience our fantastic weekend away gift experiences,” he adds.
Sarah Morgan from Liverpool, booked a weekend away gift experience for her partner’s 40th birthday, three years after the important milestone.
“I wanted to do something really special for Frank, but both of our jobs were looking a bit uncertain in 2008, so I decided to get him something small. I promised him at the time, that as soon as we had a bit more money in the bank, I would take him away,” she says.
“It’s taken a few years, but after moving jobs, I have a bit more job security and as soon as I could afford it, I booked us onto a romantic weekend away to Paris. Giving him a gift experience finally was such a special moment, as he had pretty much forgotten about it,” she laughs.
Now that business is back on track and holiday makers have started to spend money in other countries, this will also have a positive effect on the rest of the world, says economist Zack Lyons.
“We have all heard the news about the debt that countries around the world are in, if everyone was to book a weekend breaks just once a year, then that would make a dramatic effect on the worldwide economy,” he says.
Francois Dubois is a bistro owner in Calais in France. “We are very grateful for all the business that the Worldwide Travel Directory has sent to France,” he says.
“In the last few months our tables have been full nearly every day. More and more people are taking the ferry across the Channel and like to stop with u to experience the French way of life.”
Now that bookings are being made and people are packing up for their weekend away gift experiences, Mr Radford says they are now looking at ways to maintain numbers and keep business frequent.
“Now we have experienced this busy period, we want to do everything we can to make sure people keep booking their weekend always with us. Giving someone a weekend away gift experience is a wonderful way to say how much you love them.”