The pre-tourist tax indications from the UK travel industry are good, Britons are going to be travelling this year, but with the money that is going to be spent on holidays, they may be going further afield. Half of Britons plan to spend their holidays abroad this year and show no sign of cutting their holiday budgets this year despite fears of a looming recession, research has found. About 80% of people in the UK plan to take a holiday this year, spending an average of £1'196 each, a survey from Marks and Spencer Financial Services said. Only 6% of respondents said they had changed their holiday plans because of the 11 September attacks. The survey has also been welcomed by tour operators, who fear that global economic uncertainty, coupled with security fears in the wake of the 11 September attacks, will slash traveller numbers next year. According to the M&S survey, the average holiday budget rises to a high of £1'656 in the 35 to 44 age group, from a low of £1'196 among those aged over 55. The Association of British Travel Agents made it clear yesterday that travel agents are busy, but the bulk of people are going long haul and have money to spend. These are the people the Balearics are aiming to attract, but for most prepared to spend over £1'000 per person, long haul holiday prices are proving far more attractive. What the tourism authorities need to be aware of is that the global tourist industry is not expected to grow this year, which means that if there are increases in numbers who opt for new destinations, somewhere will be losing clients. The increase in British visitors compensated for the drop in Germans in the Balearics last year, a repeat performance is unlikely, apart from a further decline in Germans. The World Tourism Organisation said yesterday that tourism will not grow this year. “It's going to be a very difficult year for tourism,” WTO sources said “at best we can hope for zero growth but no decline.”

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