Published on : Thursday, December 26, 2019
The Travel Association estimates that five million passengers are heading abroad over the Christmas and New Year period [18 December – 2 January], with the peak travel day being 20 December, and Christmas Day the quietest.
Holidaymakers are departing for much-needed winter sun or to colder climes to enjoy the snow with ABTA Members reporting that people are heading shorter haul to the Canary Islands, Cape Verde, Morocco, Turkey and Egypt. The first flight to Sharm El Sheikh since travel restrictions were lifted will also be heading out from Birmingham on 19 December. For long haul Dubai and Goa have sold well, and anyone still looking for a last-minute deal could consider the Algarve and mainland Spain.
For a more traditional Christmas experience in a snowy destination, Geneva is expected to be popular, while Budapest and Barcelona are other winter destinations which are selling well this year. Popular New Year’s Eve breaks include the cities of Amsterdam, Dublin and Berlin whilst domestically London and Edinburgh continue to lead the way.
The Christmas getaway in numbers
Millions of people will be leaving the country through the major airports, all of which are reporting high numbers. 564,000 are set to depart from Stansted, 395,000 from Luton, in addition to around 550,000 leaving from Manchester, 150,000 from Bristol and 80,000 from Newcastle International. Gatwick Airport will be very busy and Heathrow is anticipating record numbers departing over the festive period too.
Hundreds of thousands of passengers will be leaving from Scottish airports, with 146,000 travelling through Glasgow alone, as well as from other regional airports, including 50,000 from London Southend and 35,000 from East Midlands.
A significant number of people are also travelling across the English Channel by ferry or through the Channel Tunnel, with hundreds of thousands heading off on the Eurostar.
Many will be taking the opportunity to take a break in the UK also, with trips to, Eastbourne, the Lake District and Llandudno having sold well, as well as breaks in the South West of England.
Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive said:
“Christmas and New Year are always very busy times with millions heading off for a winter sun break, guaranteed snow or to spend quality time with friends and family. The roads and public transport will as always be very busy so leave a little extra time to get to your departure port without the stress.
“Christmas is a magical time of year for travel and spending New Year’s Eve in one of the great European cities is an unforgettable experience.
“If you are still to book your Christmas or New Year getaway or are planning your holiday for next year, look out for the ABTA logo. By booking with an ABTA Member you can travel with confidence knowing you can access a range of support, protection and expertise should you need it.”