Festive holidays are in favour this year and according to ABTA Members, holidays to Lapland are up as much as 14% on 2012. Holidaymakers are also taking longer trips and taking in more activities as they seek the winter break of a lifetime.
Traditional winter breaks have been growing in popularity in recent years with visits to the Northern Lights, Christmas markets and “winter wonderland” style breaks all favourite options.
For the ultimate Christmas treat, there’s nothing more festive than meeting Father Christmas himself. Finnish Lapland is the destination for the majority of these trips which are understandably popular with families – believe it or not you can even go for the day!
ABTA Members are also reporting that this year winter wonderland style breaks are in demand for couples. Activities such as reindeer sleigh rides, snowmobiling and ice fishing are all available for those looking to embrace a wintery holiday. Lapland and other Nordic countries are also growing in popularity as ski destinations, particularly for beginners, with ABTA Members indicating that as many as 40% of those travelling to Lapland are trying cross country or downhill skiing.
The Northern Lights are on many people’s travel bucket lists and for good reason, the mesmerising displays of lights are one of the wonders of nature. They can be elusive however, and with scientists predicting a peak in solar activity this December, this winter is a great time to go.
Visible from a variety of places including Sweden, Norway, Finland, Greenland, the Svalbard islands, Alaska, Canada, Russia, and even northern Scotland there are lots of places to see the lights and as they can’t be guaranteed, many breaks will offer you the chance to include other activities such as snowmobiling, husky sledging or a visit to cities including Tromso and Reykjavik. A Northern Lights Cruise, which takes in different locations and sceneries with potential aurora viewings at night, is also a popular option.
With festive foods and shopping on offer in some magical settings, Christmas Markets have been a feature of many Northern European towns and cities for hundreds of years. Most start in mid to late November and many remain open into the New Year. German Christmas Markets look set to see lots of British visitors this year with Germany reporting a 9% increase in British visitor numbers throughout 2013. Other favourite destinations include Brussels, Prague, Paris and Vienna, whilst the outdoor markets in London, Birmingham and Edinburgh are popular in the UK.
ABTA, Head of Communications, Victoria Bacon said: “Festive breaks have been growing in popularity in recent years and travel companies have really responded to this with the wide range of holidays and activities now on offer. A real trend ABTA is seeing is holidaymakers looking for experience led holidays and these festive getaways are a fantastic opportunity for people to create long-lasting memories.”