The travel sector is looking to the future with cautious optimism, according to industry association Abta.

Frances Tuke, a spokeswoman for the group, said that there was "some stability being shown" in August this year and bookings for summer 2010 are "looking good at this stage".

However, she also warned that "it's not all positive", with the industry still facing some difficult economic conditions, and said that it is too early to begin talking about a recovery.

Commenting on destinations that have performed well despite the economic downturn, Ms Tuke said that non-EU countries such as Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia have been "growing quite nicely".

She added: "Overall, for the market, it is down by ten per cent but compared to other sectors, that is not too bad."

The Office for National Statistics recently released figures showing that the number of visits to the UK in the three months from May to July this year was up by two per cent, while the number of trips abroad by British residents fell by one per cent.