18 Jan

More than 4.5 million UK holidaymakers are set to make a getaway to warmer climes this winter

With reports the weather in the UK is likely to take a turn for the worse at the end of the month, nearly a third* (31%) of UK holidaymakers going on a winter holiday are planning to escape abroad to warmer destinations, according to new research by ABTA – The Travel Association.

More people are seeking a winter sun getaway, up 3% on last year, in a move to avoid the winter blues and another prolonged cold snap. Forecasters** say there is increased likelihood of cold weather as we head towards the end of this month and into next, and there has even been some media speculation about a possible return of the ‘Beast from the East’ weather system, which gripped the UK last winter and brought freezing temperatures and heavy snow.

According to ABTA Members, the Canary Islands remain the number one destination for British tourists seeking sunnier weather this winter, with Tenerife, Lanzarote and Gran Canaria all ranking strongly for bookings. At this time of year temperatures in the region are often more than three times the average temperature at home, usually peaking between 17-20°C.

Cape Verde, Turkey and Egypt are also proving popular mid-haul choices, while Jamaica and Mexico are the pick of the long-haul destinations.

Winter sun seekers may also want to consider familiar summer destinations such as Mallorca, Cyprus and the Algarve. While they may not reach the scorching temperatures of the summer months, they’re much warmer and sunnier than back home in the UK.

Package trips offer the greatest form of protection – meaning that it is the package organiser’s responsibility to make sure that everything goes to plan, and if there is some sort of delay or cancellation – whatever the reason – you’ll either be offered alternative arrangements or a full refund if your holiday can’t go ahead.

Packages also provide excellent value for money, with 60% of holidaymakers saying they have booked a package because it was the best option for the price, up 3% on the previous year.

Victoria Bacon, ABTA’s Director of Brand and Business Development, said:

“As the British winter weather takes hold and the temperature drops, holidaymakers are seizing the opportunity to make an escape to warmer climes. This year is no exception with even more people saying they’ll travel abroad for a fix of winter sun.  

“If you’re still looking to book a winter break there are plenty of options available, speak to an ABTA Member who can help you choose the best places for a winter sun break and find a holiday which best suits your needs.”

Booking with an ABTA Member allows holidaymakers to access the support, protection and expertise so people can travel with confidence.

ABTA Member winter sun holidays:


TUI is offering seven night holidays to Mexico staying at the Platinum 4T RIU Tequila  on an all-inclusive basis. Prices from £865 per person when booked online. Price is based on two adults sharing and includes flights departing from Manchester airport on 28th January 2019 and transfers.


Thomas Cook is offering seven night holidays to Egypt, staying at the four star Sentido Mamlouk Palace Resort on an all-inclusive basis, departing from London Gatwick on 24 February 2019. Prices from £589 per person when booked online, based on two adults sharing and includes 15kg hold luggage each and return transfers.


Jet2holidays is offering seven night, self-catering, holidays to Portugal, Algarve, staying at the 3 star Vilamoura Golf Apartments, departing from Manchester airport on 10th February 2019. Prices from £299 per person based on 2 adults sharing, including 22kg baggage allowance and return transfers.

These holidays were available as of 10th January 2019.


Notes to editors

About the research:

*Research was conducted by Arkenford Ltd (www.arkenford.co.uk) who specialise in leisure and tourism market research. 29% of UK holidaymakers who are going on a winter holiday is 14,851,254 (based on ONS 2017 GB population estimate of 50,644,094). Of those Brits going on a winter holiday, 31% are taking a winter sun break, which is equal to 4,612,675. The ABTA Consumer Trends survey generated responses from a nationally representative sample of 2,001 consumers using an online research methodology and related to holiday booking habits in the 12 months to August 2018. Fieldwork was conducted between the end of July and beginning of August 2018. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).


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ABTA press office, press@abta.co.uk or 020 3117 0596

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ABTA has been a trusted travel brand for over 65 years. Our purpose is to help our Members to grow their businesses successfully and sustainably, and to help their customers travel with confidence.

The ABTA brand stands for support, protection and expertise. This means consumers have confidence in ABTA and a strong trust in ABTA Members. These qualities are core to us as they ensure that holidaymakers remain confident in the holiday products that they buy from our Members.

We help our Members and their customers navigate through today's changing travel landscape by raising standards in the industry; offering schemes of financial protection; providing an independent complaints resolution service should something go wrong; giving guidance on issues from sustainability to health and safety and by presenting a united voice to government to ensure the industry and the public get a fair deal.

ABTA has around 1,200 Members, with a combined annual UK turnover of £38 billion. For more details about what we do, what being an ABTA Member means and how we help the British public travel with confidence visit www.abta.com.