The impact of next April’s hike in Air Passenger Duty combined with the rising cost of holidaying abroad is set to deal a “hammer blow” to foreign breaks.

The claim came from domestic self-catering operator Blue Chip Holidays while revealing the results of research which found that 44% plan to increase the number of UK holidays they take in 2012.

When asked how they would react to the planned APD hikes at twice the rate of inflation, the numbers of those saying they would be more likely holiday in the UK rather than overseas rose to 67%.

Just a third of the 2,900 people polled said it would make no difference to their holidaying habits.

The swing towards domestic breaks appears to be swayed by the continuing poor performance of the pound against foreign currencies, and the perception that overseas holidays are becoming increasingly unaffordable.

More than half of those polled (53%) said the weakness of sterling dissuaded them from holidaying abroad while 64% said that they have chosen, or would choose, a UK self-catering holiday over an overseas trip to save money.

Blue Chip Holidays managing director Alan Taylor said: “The impact of a hike in APD cannot be underestimated. In these financially challenging times the travelling public are looking for value for money.

“Confronted with the prospect of hundreds of pounds being added to the cost of their overseas holiday overnight, you can bet that travellers will very quickly look for better value deals and for many that will mean holidaying here in the UK.

“The good news for the domestic holiday home sector is that customers who choose not to holiday overseas intend to spend the money they save in the UK; 26% of those polled in our survey said they’d upgrade their accommodation to somewhere really special.

“A further 30% said they’d choose to treat themselves on their holiday in the UK. On top of that, 35% said they’d use any money saved to take an additional domestic break in the UK.”

Taylor added: “In the last year alone we’ve seen our bookings rise by 30% on 2010.  This has been caused in part by extreme weather conditions overseas, air strikes, poor exchange rates, increased air fares and APD tax increases, however it has also been because customers put off by the rising cost of trips abroad are upgrading to really special and memorable places in the UK; they are not willing to lose out on quality in any way.

“This is great news for the high-end holiday home market and we expect demand for 4 and 5-star properties to rise significantly over the next year.”