21 Dec

Millions of Brits head abroad for The Great Christmas and New Year Getaway

ABTA – The Travel Association estimates that millions of passengers will be heading abroad over the Christmas and New Year period, 22 December to 2 January.

This time of year is one of the most popular times for overseas travel, particularly for those with young families. Friday the 22 December is set to be the busiest day for departures and Christmas Day the quietest.

Holidaymakers are looking for winter sun or a traditional snowy Christmas. For those looking for warmth and sunshine, the most popular destinations are the Canary Islands, Cyprus, Dubai, Southern Spain and Turkey.

For a more traditional Christmas experience in a snowy destination, the ski resorts of France, Austria, Switzerland and Italy lead the way and ABTA members have reported strong demand for perhaps the ultimate Christmas break, visiting Father Christmas in Lapland, with one leading travel company taking almost 40,000 customers in the last few weeks.

For party lovers looking to celebrate the New Year in style, the most popular overseas city break destinations this year include Dublin, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Paris and Vienna.

The Christmas getaway in numbers

Millions of people will be leaving the country through the major airports, all of which are reporting high numbers. 425,000 are set to depart from Stansted, 253,000 from Luton, in addition to around 395,000 leaving from Manchester, 335,000 from Birmingham and 145,000 from Bristol. Gatwick is reporting that it will be busy as will Heathrow which expects over 6.5 million passengers, both arriving and departing, to travel through the airport throughout the month of December.

Hundreds of thousands of passengers will be leaving from Scottish airports, with 200,000 departing from Edinburgh alone, as well as from other regional airports.

A significant number of people are also travelling across the English Channel by ferry or through the Channel Tunnel.

Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive said: 

“Christmas and New Year are always very busy times for travel and this year will be no exception, with large numbers heading overseas looking to spend quality time with loved ones. ABTA members are pleased to be able to make people’s Christmas holiday wishes come true – whether they’re seeking winter sun or guaranteed snow and the chance for everyone in the family to relax and enjoy the festivities to the full. 

“Roads and public transport will as always be very busy, so please leave a little extra time to get to your departure port and avoid unnecessary stress and worry. And if you are taking a winter sports break- make sure you have the right travel insurance -  it can be a costly mistake if you don’t.”

Anyone heading overseas this Christmas can check ABTA’s travel advice, and if you’re yet to book a trip, speak to an ABTA member who can help you find the best deal – www.abta.com 

Notes to editors
ABTA is a trade association for UK travel agents, tour operators and the wider travel industry. We’re the largest travel trade body, with over 4,600 travel brands in membership who have a combined pre-pandemic annual UK turnover of £40 billion. We work closely with our members to help raise and maintain standards and build a more sustainable travel industry, and provide travellers with advice, guidance and support.

Our members sign up to a code of conduct and commit to agreed service standards and fair trading. When you need clear travel information, and accurate and impartial advice relating to your trip, we’re here for you. When you book with an ABTA member, reliable advice comes as standard. This means that booking with our members brings peace of mind.

ABTA also offers services to help you on your travels – ABTA Travel Insurance and ABTA Travel Money.

All this together means we help you travel with confidence. www.abta.com