Almost two thirds (65%) of people who plan to take a summer holiday this year have already booked, latest research for Abta reveals.

Travel industry figures show a significant shift in popularity to the western Mediterranean, with increases in bookings to Spain (26%) Portugal (29%) and Cyprus (18%).

A drop in business to Tunisia and Egypt, following high profile terrorist incidents and changes to Foreign Office travel advice, has driven a growth in popularity to the western Mediterranean.

But holidaymakers leaving it late to book may find it more difficult than usual to secure their first choice destination or dates.

Research suggests that those leaving it late are not bargain hunters. When those planning a holiday but have not yet booked were asked why they had not yet booked their holiday, waiting for a last minute bargain was down the list with 15% people giving this as a reason.

Personal finance and personal circumstances such as family illness topped the list of reasons why Britons are planning a holiday but have not yet booked it. Others include work commitments.

Some availability still exists in Greece although people are advised to be flexible over dates and islands.

A general drop in visitor numbers to Turkey makes it a good option for late bookers, according to Abta.

Holidaymakers are also being advised to consider alternative destinations such as areas, cities and resorts within popular destinations, such as the northern coasts of Spain and Portugal and cities further inland.

People are also looking toward eastern European destinations including Croatia and Bulgaria for the summer.

Abta is also advising to consider traveling outside of the peak summer months of July and August with the weather around the Mediterranean remaining good until well into October and often beyond.

Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer said: “We are seeing a significant increase in summer holiday bookings to western Mediterranean destinations so I would urge holidaymakers who are looking to travel, not to delay in making their booking.

“My advice to those who have left it late is to be flexible when making their booking and seek the advice of a travel professional who will be able to advise them on the best options and destinations still available, as well as recommending less well known and less crowded areas.”

Reasons why those who are planning on going on holiday haven’t booked yet:

Personal finances: 22%
Personal circumstances (e.g. family illness): 22%
I haven’t had the time: 20%
I never book my holiday this early: 18%
Work commitments: 16%
I’m waiting for a last minute bargain: 15%