The Great Christmas and New Year Getaway
Over four million heading overseas
ABTA – The Travel Association estimates that over four million passengers will be heading overseas this Christmas and New Year period [18 Dec ember – 2 January], with the peak travel days predicted to be 18, 23, and 30 December on the weekends either side of Christmas. ABTA is advising customers to leave extra time to get to the airports as the roads will be very busy and to check in advance for any travel restrictions if using public transport.
Holidaymakers are either heading off for some much needed winter sun or to colder climes. Winter sun lovers are heading to the Canary Islands, Morocco and the Cape Verde Islands and for those flying long haul Dubai, Mexico and Cuba. Winter sports lovers are heading off to the continent with Switzerland, France, Austria and Italy the most popular destinations for those looking for a traditional experience in a snowy destination.
Popular for New Year’s Eve breaks are the cities of Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona, New York and Dublin, and domestically Edinburgh and London lead the way.
Millions of people will be leaving the country through the major airports all of which are reporting increases in passenger numbers on 2014. 900,000 will be departing from Gatwick, 500,000 from Stansted, 255,000 from Luton, in addition around 400,000 will leave from Manchester, 205,000 from Birmingham and 55,000 from Bristol. 600,000 will be departing from Heathrow alone in the week 19-25 December. Tens of thousands of passengers will also be leaving the UK through Glasgow and Edinburgh airports as well as large numbers through other regional airports throughout the country.
Hundreds of thousands of people will also travel across the English Channel by ferry or through the Channel Tunnel with many heading off on the Eurostar who report that Friday 18 December will be their busiest day, with Paris their most popular destination.
Many are also taking the opportunity to take a break in the UK staying in a country cottage or a seaside resorts and city breaks in London and York have also sold well as have breaks to Christmas markets around the country.
Mark Tanzer ABTA Chief Executive said: “Christmas and New Year is one of the busiest times of the year for travelling and holiday-taking and we will see large numbers heading off in the next few days. Hundreds of thousands will be flying off to visit friends and families but millions will also be heading overseas for winter sun or snow. Many will also be looking to welcome in the New Year in cities around the world which really know how to throw a party.”