ABTA - The Travel Association estimates that almost four million Britons will be heading overseas this Christmas and New Year period [20 December – 3 January], with the peak travel days predicted to be 20, 21 and 23 December.
Consumers are either heading off for some much needed winter sun or guaranteed snow. Winter sun lovers are heading to the Canary Islands, Tunisia, Morocco and the Cape Verde Islands and for those flying long haul Dubai, Mexico, Cuba and Kenya. Winter sports lovers are benefiting from excellent snow levels on the continent with Switzerland, France, Austria and Italy the most popular destinations.
Popular for New Year’s Eve breaks are the cities of Paris, Edinburgh, Amsterdam, Rome, and Dublin.
Many are also taking the opportunity to take a break in the UK with sea side resorts of Llandudno, Torquay and Eastbourne proving popular and city breaks in London and York have also sold well.
Millions of people will be leaving the country through the major airports, which include Heathrow where 1.7 million* are estimated to be leaving, Stansted 360,000, Gatwick 700,000 and Luton 175,000 and in addition 360,000 will leave from Manchester and 130,000 from Birmingham. 100,000 will also be leaving through Glasgow and Edinburgh airports as well as large numbers through other regional airports throughout the UK.
Hundreds of thousands will also travel across the English Channel by ferry or through the Channel Tunnel with 210,000 heading off on the Eurostar with Paris being the favourite destination.
Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive said: “Christmas and New Year are traditionally amongst the busiest times of the year and this year millions of Britons are heading off overseas for guaranteed snow or some much needed winter sun. Many will also be jetting off to visit friends and family or heading for a hotel break in the UK. As the roads will be busy, ABTA recommends that holidaymakers should leave plenty of time to get to the airport and check for engineering work before heading off if using public transport.”
*Heathrow estimate 3 million passengers will depart the airport throughout the whole of December 2013