The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) estimates that a record 2.2 million British holidaymakers are set to leave the country over the Easter weekend (Thursday 24 to Monday 28 March).Easter is always a busy getaway period for British holidaymakers. Families use the school holidays as the ideal opportunity to go abroad, while others make the most of the four-day bank holiday.
This year Easter is early and so holidaymakers will be heading to winter destinations. Most ski resorts are sold out especially as there has been good snow this season - although recent warm temperatures have brought on spring conditions. For sunshine breaks, the Canary Islands are leading in popularity in the short haul market, while North Africa, particularly, Egypt followed by Morocco and Tunisia, are performing exceptionally well for medium haul. Meanwhile Caribbean destinations and the United Arab Emirates are proving to be the popular long haul destinations.
Easter is also the perfect time to take a city break and while the dollar is still low, New York is proving particularly popular, while the Dan Brown (of Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons fame) effect has re-vitalised interest to Paris and Rome.
1.6 million passengers are scheduled to depart from UK airports over the weekend, with one million leaving the country through the seven British Airports Authority airports. 50,000 are departing from Luton, 110,000 from Manchester airport, 45,000 from Birmingham and 25,000 from East Midlands Airport.
In addition, more than 500,000 are expected to travel under or over the English Channel to France, the Netherlands and Spain including 80,000 on the Eurostar. Many travellers are taking the train or car to France visiting holiday homes.
Martin Wellings ABTA’s President, said: “Once again Easter holidays are virtually sold out, with holidaymakers taking winter sun breaks or enjoying the excellent snow conditions Europe. “