18 Nov

Three in ten planning a winter break as winter bookings up 16%

As the winter holiday season gets underway, winter holiday bookings are up 16% year on year according to the latest industry figures*. ABTA research** also shows that three in ten people (29%) are planning to take a winter break, with winter sun the most popular holiday type.  

Table 1.1 – Will you take a winter holiday or break this year?





Don’t know



People aged 25-34 are most likely to be taking a winter holiday, with over a third (36%) planning to do so, followed closely by people aged over 65 (33%). The younger 18-24 year olds are the age group most likely to be undecided about taking a winter holiday, with a third (33%) stating this.

Of those planning a winter holiday, winter sun is the most popular holiday option, with almost a third (31%) choosing this type of trip, followed by city breaks and UK breaks.

Table 1.2 – What type of winter holiday will you take? (People planning a winter holiday)


Winter sun


City break


UK break


Ski holiday




Christmas market break


Northern lights



Winter bookings appear to be following a broadly similar pattern to the summer, when a drop in business to traditionally popular destinations like Tunisia and Egypt, following high profile terrorist incidents and changes to Foreign Office travel advice, drove a growth in popularity to the Western Mediterranean in particular. According to GfK’s Travel Leisure Monitor, bookings to the most popular winter holiday destination, Spain, are up 33% year-on-year, Portugal is looking very strong with bookings up 41%, and Cyprus is up 34%.

Away from Europe, long haul sunseekers are driving growth in the winter market with bookings to the Caribbean up 21% and Asia 17%. ABTA Members have also reported strong sales to Cape Verde.

Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive, commented: “It is very encouraging that bookings for the winter season are looking strong.  With such a wide range of holiday options available in the winter months, from winter sun to city and ski breaks, it is not surprising that so many people are planning a winter break.”