The credit crunch is having an escalating effect on people’stravel plans, TNS research commissioned by Travel Weekly has revealed.

As the start of the year, just 7% of respondents to a TNS study said the economic downturn would have an impact on travel plans for 2008. However, 19% of 2,087 people questioned from July 4 to 8 admitted they may have to cut back on their summer holiday.

Some 40% of those surveyed said they would not be taking a holiday away from home for the remainder of the year.

The trend is most apparent among the 35 to 54 age range. In this group, 25% will have to change their plans.

Of all respondents, 43% said they would take fewer holidays and short breaks than in previous years, while 22% said they would look for cheaper alternatives.

However, few were holding out for late deals. Only 13% said they would consider postponing booking their holiday until the last minute.

The strength of the euro against the pound is also acting as a deterent.A quarter of those plannning an overseas holiday in 2008 said the exchange rate would have an impact on their choice of destination and 15% said this would influence whether they travel at all.

Holiday Discount Centre managing director Steve Campion said: “Bookings have been a bit weaker than last year but not dramatically different. People are still travelling, they’re just choosing cheaper holidays or going for one week instead of two.”

TNS head of travel and tourism Tom Costley added: “Our research has shown that for the majority a holiday remains animportant part of their life. This latest wave of research provides strong evidence that the holiday market is far from immune to economic pressures.”