The Global Travel Group has reported an overall sales increase of 11% across its contingent of 400 independent travel agents.

The group said cruises, Spanish beach resorts and Indian Ocean hotspots had proved most popular with customers for the first half of this year.

It reported a record increase in Maldives bookings, up 53% year-on-year, with Mauritius also up by 45%.

The consortium attributed the increase in sales to strong airfares, hotel offers and an increase in the number of luxury and all-inclusive resorts.

New figures have revealed the group’s cruise sales were up 25%, the consortium’s strongest ever start to the year. Meanwhile, sales of short haul holidays have grown by 4% year-on-year.

Managing director Andy Stark said: “With sun starved Brits snapping up last-minute offers to get away from one of the coldest winters on record, the traditional fly and flop beach holiday continues to show its staying power despite predictions stating the contrary.

“From a long haul product perspective, with record bookings to Dubai, the Maldives, Mauritius and the always strong Australia setting the pace for the year, it’s clear that when holidaymakers open their wallets for a lengthy getaway, it’s still sun and sand they seek even when they travel further afield.”