2.1 million holidaymakers to head overseas
ABTA – The Travel Association estimates 2.1 million British holidaymakers are set to head overseas over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend of 30 March – 2 April, with Good Friday the busiest day for travel.
As the UK prepares for cold, wet and windy weather, many travelling abroad will be escaping to the sunshine. Spain is yet again the UK’s favourite foreign holiday destination for the weekend, with Malaga, Alicante and the Canary Islands the most popular regions. Daytime temperatures this weekend are set to reach balmy levels of 20C in Malaga, 20C in Alicante and 22C in Tenerife.
Southern Turkey will also be busy, with holidaymakers enjoying 21C, while Egypt is another popular choice for sun seekers – with temperatures of 31C predicted in Hurghada. Britons will be travelling even further afield in the search for sun as ABTA Members report that Cancun and Florida are selling well.
Many more are taking advantage of the double Bank Holiday weekend to spend four days exploring a new city. This Easter, UK airports are reporting that Amsterdam, Budapest and Rome are popular destinations. The trend for low-cost long-haul flights is also influencing Easter getaways. Gatwick Airport is reporting large increases in the number of people flying to destinations such as Los Angeles, New York, Hong Kong and Boston compared to Easter 2017.
With Easter falling early there will continue to be superb snow and skiing conditions in the Alpine resorts. ABTA Members are reporting that resorts in France, Austria and Italy have sold well for Easter, as snow lovers enjoy the last weeks of the winter season.
This time of year is always a popular time for UK breaks, particularly for families. Bookings for UK breaks are also healthy with many customers travelling to coastlines, national parks and theme parks for the Easter season.
Airports are reporting strong numbers with about 500,000 leaving from Heathrow, 260,000 from Gatwick, 180,000 from Stansted and almost 100,000 from Luton.
Regional airports will be busy, with 160,000 leaving from Manchester, 50,000 from Bristol and over 100,000 from the Scottish airports.
Other regional airports, ferry terminals and the Channel Tunnel will also be extremely busy over the weekend with over 70,000 people booked to travel by Eurostar this weekend, with the most popular minibreak destination being Paris.
Mark Tanzer ABTA Chief Executive said:
“The Easter weekend is one of the busiest of the year for the travel industry. Millions of holidaymakers will be heading overseas over the long weekend for some much needed sunshine, adventure or change of scenery, while the UK will also be popular. The getaway for Easter tends to be one of the busiest times of year on the roads - with the Met Office predicting wet and windy weather we advise anyone travelling by car to airports, ferry terminals or directly to their holiday destinations to leave plenty of time. If using public transport, check in advance for engineering works.”