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Tour operators and airlines are starting to see the first wave of a great British getaway in the wake of England being knocked out of the World Cup.
Thomas Cook reported a “strong day of trading” on Saturday as customers booking holidays in store cited England’s early exit from the competition as the main reason for a break.
The 172-year-old holiday giant added that people browsing for a summer break sent traffic volumes on its website soaring to double the level seen just a week earlier.
Budget airline easyJet added that bookings following England’s exit were up year on year and they are preparing for a busy week ahead.
As travel agents prepare for a bumper period, the UK economy is set to take a hit. Fewer barbeques and match-viewing parties will hit supermarkets, pubs, bookmakers and sports retailers across the country.
“England’s early departure is going to halve the expected boost to the economy from the World Cup,” said David McCorquodale, head of retail at accountancy firm KPMG. “Undoubtedly there will be a depression for the retailers. People will still watch the World Cup but they would have thrown a much bigger party if their team was still in the tournament.”
The British Retail Consortium had estimated the tournament would be worth £2bn to the economy and some of that has already been spent on new television and stocking up on beer and wine.