Barclays predicts Brits will spend £1.47 billion abroad this summer

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Barclays forecast that total overseas debit card spending and cash withdrawals will hit £1.47 billion for the six week break. While this is higher than any other period during the year, it is broadly the same as the summer of 2010, indicating that consumer confidence has not totally bounced back following the recession.

As the final bells rang on the school term last week and thousands of holidaymakers jet off to sunnier climates, Barclays predicts that Friday 29 July will be the peak day for spend abroad this summer, with Brits spending £43 million overseas via debit cards on this day alone.

Barclays forecast that total overseas debit card spending and cash withdrawals will hit £1.47 billion for the six week break. While this is higher than any other period during the year, it is broadly the same as the summer of 2010, indicating that consumer confidence has not totally bounced back following the recession.

Spain, France and the USA are Brits’ favourite holiday destinations*, which are predicted to account for almost two-fifths of the total debit card spend abroad this summer. As household incomes are stretched, we are also seeing a growing trend of short European city breaks rather than the traditional two-week holiday. Riga in Latvia and Hamburg in Germany have seen the biggest increase in popularity this year, with the number of debit card transactions increasing by 60 per cent and 56 per cent respectively in these cities. The most popular attractions according to debit card spending patterns are Walt Disney World in the USA, the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin and the Eiffel Tower in Paris.**

Dan Wass, Current Account Director for Barclays, comments: “Since the recession hit, the number of people going abroad for their holidays has been declining. However according to statistics*** these figures are now stabilising. The amount of money spent abroad this summer is expected to remain the same as 2010 as British holidaymakers look for bargains amid the economic crisis in Europe, benefiting from lower prices in hotels, restaurants and bars.

“Using a debit card for overseas spending is the safest and easiest way to pay. Whilst using cards to withdraw cash at ATMs is still the most popular option, we know that more people are starting to use their debit card to pay at point of sale rather than carrying foreign currency.”

Barclays customers can also take advantage of the bank’s Global Alliance agreement, benefiting from no additional transaction charges when using your debit card in one of its Global Partner’s cash machines, including Bank of America, BNP Paribas and Westpac (note: a 2.99 per cent foreign exchange charge will apply).

To make transactions outside the UK easier Barclays customers should register the countries they will be visiting via our holiday flag service, available either in branch, online or on the telephone. Customers can keep track of their spending via online or .mobi banking from Barclays. The Barclays.mobi site features a handy foreign exchange currency converter.

Barclays has joined forces with Lonely Planet, the popular travel guide book publisher, to offer customers advice and tips about how best to travel, and how to make your money work for you whilst you are on holiday. Colleagues and customers can also claim a 30 per cent discount on Lonely Planet publications. Barclays also offers a range of travel insurance to protect you whilst you are away. For more information, go to http://www.barclays.co.uk/travel.

Notes to Editors:

All numbers and predictions are based on extrapolation from a sample of over 700,000 Barclays current account customers

*Top 10 most popular holiday destinations for 2011:

1.    Spain
2.    France
3.    USA
4.    Ireland
5.    Germany
6.    Poland
7.    Italy
8.    Portugal
9.    Turkey
10.    Greece

**Top 10 most popular tourist attractions for 2011:

1.    Walt Disney World - USA
2.    Guinness Storehouse - Ireland
3.    Eiffel Tower – France
4.    Portaventura – Spain
5.    Empire State Building – USA
6.    Barcelona FC – Spain
7.    Universal Studios – USA
8.    Australia Zoo – Australia
9.    Louvre Museum – France
10.    Kennedy Space Centre - USA

*** Source: ONS - July 2011 Visits abroad by UK residents have stabilised following declines starting in 2007. A total of 56.0 million visits abroad for the 12 months to May 2011 is just 0.1 million lower than in the previous twelve months.

Breakdown of charges when using a Barclays debit card abroad:

Foreign exchange charge = 2.99%

Global Alliance ATM withdrawal fee = N/A

Non-Global Alliance ATM / overseas bank withdrawal fee = 2%, minimum £1.50 maximum £4.50

Transaction fee = N/A

Barclays is a major global financial services provider engaged in retail banking, including credit cards, regular savings accounts, loans, cash ISA, home insurance, savings bonds, student bank accounts, corporate and investment banking and wealth management with an extensive international presence in Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia. With over 300 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays operates in over 50 countries and employs nearly 147,000 people. Barclays moves, lends, invests and protects money for 48 million customers and clients worldwide.

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Emma Austin
Barclays
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