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'A Third' Avoiding The Olympics And Going Away During The Games To Escape Them

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Around a third of Britons who have booked a holiday abroad this summer have deliberately chosen their dates so they can avoid the Olympic Games, a study suggested today.

Some 35% of those surveyed have already planned a holiday abroad, and around three quarters of them said the Olympics had affected their departure dates in some way, according to the survey from foreign exchange firm Travelex.

This could equate to around 10 million Britons whose holiday dates are affected by the Olympics when the figures are projected nationally, Travelex said.

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

A further 10% 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.

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 6% of holidaying Britons said they had booked their time away to fit in with key sporting events.

Around 3% of those who are going abroad said they had been left disappointed after being unable to obtain any tickets for the event, while nearly 2% of those going away are planning to take their children out of school early.

Meanwhile, 14% 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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