Med holiday breaks 'cheaper in 2010'

Image caption The holiday season is getting into its stride

Prices of some last-minute package deals to the Mediterranean are being cut by up to a third compared with last year, a survey has suggested.

As the traditional summer getaway starts in the UK, prices are being cut as some people decide to stay at home amid economic uncertainty.

Research by Co-operative Travel has found that prices are being cut to Eastern Mediterranean resorts.

An estimated 1.9 million people will head abroad from the UK this weekend.

Travel organisation Abta said a total of about 440,000 were leaving from Heathrow airport, 250,000 from Gatwick, 139,000 from Stansted, 65,000 from Birmingham, and 65,000 from Luton, from Friday to Monday. Another 127,000 will leave from Edinburgh and Glasgow airports.

"I am delighted to see hundreds of thousands of us heading overseas this weekend - the traditional curtain raiser to the summer season," said Abta chairman John McEwan.

"With prices having fallen in the eurozone and an improved exchange rate on last year, holidaymakers will get a pleasant surprise when they arrive in resort and head for local restaurants and bars."

Image caption Many families will head for the sun on their summer breaks

The most popular long-haul destinations were Dubai and Florida, the group said. Short-haul holidaymakers were most likely to head to Turkey, Greece, Egypt, the Canary and Balearic islands and mainland Spain.

But the poll by Co-op Travel said that savings extended to last-minute package deals.

It suggested that the average price paid for a family break to Paphos had dropped by 34% this year compared with 2009.

There were also price drops of 29% for holidays to Crete, 26% to Zante, and 24% to Turkey, the poll found.

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