Travelex UK

April 11, 2012 08:05 ET

The Great Olympic Get Away

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - April 11, 2012) -

  • Over 1/3 (36 per cent) of holidaying Brits have booked a holiday abroad to avoid the Games

  • One in ten taking a longer than usual holiday to stay away from UK

  • 170,000 parents revealed they plan to take kids out of school early to get away

  • 14 per cent of Brits would have preferred to holiday in UK this summer

Millions of Brits are planning to avoid the Olympic Games by escaping the UK on holidays abroad, according to a report published today by travel money specialists Travelex.

In a study commissioned by the leading foreign exchange specialist(1), over a quarter (26 per cent) of the respondents holidaying abroad this summer revealed they had deliberately chosen to book departure dates ahead of the Olympics. A further 10 per cent of respondents revealed they had changed the dates of a pre-booked holiday to ensure they were away before the Games.

Travelex predicts it will see an exodus of nearly 4 million(2) Brits head abroad in the five days between the end of the school term and the start of the Games on the 27thJuly. It comes as nearly 2 per cent of respondents, equivalent to over 170,000 parents, revealed they are even planning on taking their kids out of school early to be away in time for the Games.

Nearly a third (30 per cent) questioned stated they were leaving to get away from the visiting crowds, while hoping to escape 'blanket coverage of the Games on TV' and a dislike for sport were also popular reasons. 3 in 100 respondents claimed they had chosen to book a holiday after being left disappointed by not being able to get a ticket to any of the Games. Recent reports have revealed a quarter of a million (250,000) British fans who applied have lost out on tickets.(3)

In a further sign of the efforts Brits are going to avoid the Olympics nearly one in ten (8 per cent) of the respondents questioned revealed they have extended their holiday in order to remain away from the UK for longer. 14 per cent of those heading abroad revealed that, in the absence of the Olympic Games, they would have favoured a holiday in the UK this summer.

Brits in the areas of London, Weymouth and Windsor, which will play host to the majority of the events, were revealed as most likely to be going abroad, with nearly 1.3 million(4) people expected to flee from the capital alone. Nearly half a million(5) foreign tourists are expected to flock to these areas in the UK to watch the Games. Least likely to leave are those in Northern Ireland and Wales, who aren't expected to be disturbed by the Games.

Independent travel agent Bridget Keevil of Travel Stop, less than an hour away from the main sporting venues in London's East End. "We have had customers who just want to get away from it all while the Olympics are on," she explains.

"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. It won't be much fun for people working in London during the Games and commuters are bound to be badly hit."

The exodus is expected to see a surge in the demand for foreign currency, with higher than normal volumes of in and outbound traffic expected during the Games. Travelex is predicting a 10% uplift in demand over the period.

Feedback reveals that the majority (60 per cent) of travellers are heading into Europe, where the Pound is up by over 5% against the Euro(6). It would see a family exchanging £1,000 get as much as £57 more compared to last summer.

The most popular destination is Spain, with its popular beaches and resorts expected to play host to just over one in five (21 per cent) of British holiday makers. One in ten (10 per cent) of those looking to get away will be staying in Turkey, where the currency conversion is favourable for Brits with Pound up against the Lira by nearly 15%.(7)

"Whilst the Olympics should be a fantastic spectacle it seems that a large number of Brits would much prefer to watch it from afar", says Elvin Eldić from Travelex.

"The first few days of the school summer holidays are often among some of our busiest days in the holiday season both in terms of tourists coming into Britain and Brits leaving the country on holiday but we're fully expecting this year to be something else. In particular we're predicting a surge in demand for our prepaid currency cards, which are proving increasingly popular with savvy Brits by helping them avoid costly debit and credit card charges when abroad."

The results of the Travelex survey are backed up by an increase in early holiday bookings, confirming that many of us would still rather spend the summer abroad.(8)

Says Wendy Pritchard, of Marlow, Buckinghamshire, which sits close to the M40 motorway: "We usually go on a family holiday towards the end of summer, hoping to pick up a last minute deal. But this year we want to get away as soon as possible. With the Olympics coming up I expect the roads to be gridlocked and for it to be a nightmare to get around. We're hoping to be somewhere sunny and a little more calm come the start of the Games!"

For those fleeing holidaymakers who haven't decided where they want to escape to, the Travelex Travel Rate Tracker is the perfect tool. It's a hassle-free way to track a currency's performance - the service monitors your chosen currency exchange rates on a daily basis and will send you email alerts at a preselected rate or date prior to travel so you can ensure you are getting the best value for money. For more information visit


Travelex is the world's largest foreign exchange specialist with over 1,000 retail branches in 23 countries, at key airport, seaport, rail and tourist locations. Over 40% of travellers - 1.7 billion passengers a year - pass through airports where Travelex operates including the major gateways at Amsterdam, Beijing, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, London, Mumbai, New York, Paris, Rome, Sydney & Tokyo. Every hour, Travelex provides foreign currency to more than 2,000 customers.

TRAVELEX ONLINE & THE TRAVELEX PRICE PROMISE:, is committed to offering the best price, commission-free foreign currency in the UK. Every day monitors the exchange rates of major banks, High Street foreign currency providers (Travel Agencies, The Post Office, M&S) and a basket of other online providers to ensure we offer customers the best deal. In the unlikely event that we are beaten on any of our 60+ currencies, we will refund the difference.

(1) Survey of over 3,000 respondents across the UK carried out by One Poll on behalf of Travelex between 13/3/12 and the 29/3/12

(2) Based on 36 per cent of the respondents who are leaving the UK for a foreign holiday between the end of the 2012 school summer term and the start of the school holidays specifically to avoid the Olympic games, from a base of 10 million 18 - 65 British adults who cited that their decision to holiday abroad this year has been affected by the Olympic Games. Equivalent to a total of 3,773,899 British adults. Population sizes gathered from ONS:


(4) 74 per cent of London adult population claiming to holiday abroad as a result of the Olympics this summer from a total base of 1.7million London adult residents going on holiday abroad this summer. Equivalent to 1,288,310

(5) According to an independent report by Oxford Economics

(6) £1 = 1.1654 Euro according to on 26/3/12, versus £1 = 1.1075 Euro on 26/3/11

(7) Year on year rate from Travelex correct as of 26/3/12


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