Barcelona is top of Britons’ go-to list

Barcelona has beaten the Big Apple and Paris as Britons’ favourite holiday destination for the second year running, according to a survey of spending habits commissioned by Barclaycard.

In a holiday top ten compiled for the report, Dublin came fourth, followed by Rome. New York, Dubai and Turkey rose in popularity among the British for holidays, with New York climbing from third place last year to second, above Paris. Turkey rose from tenth to ninth and Dubai leapt two places to seventh.

Sterling’s strength against the euro has helped Barcelona to retain its place in the survey, which was based on spending on credit and debit cards, The Times reports.

Chris Wood, the chief operating officer of Barclaycard, said: “As a cosmopolitan city by the sea, Barcelona has the best of both worlds, so it’s not surprising that it is holding steady as a favourite holiday destination.”

The economic recovery at home has helped to increase Britons’ spending on holidays, with an increase of 7.5 per cent in the first six months of this year compared with 2.4 per cent in the same period last year. Britons splashed out more on drinks, food and shopping with a 13 per cent increase this year, 8 per cent better than last year. Hotel spending rose by 7.8 per cent, compared with 4.5 per cent last year. Overall, the number of holiday bookings rose 10.3 per cent this year.

Spending by British tourists in Greece was down 20 per cent last month, compared with the same period last year, reflecting that country’s long-running economic problems.

Although Britons are still the biggest group by nationality visiting Spain, the rising strength of the dollar against the euro has generated a 21 per cent increase in Americans spending their holidays on the costas.