ABTA Alleges Easter Getaway Sets New Record

The Association of British Travel Agents

(ABTA) estimates that, despite the conflict in Iraq and Sars in South East Asia, a record 1.8 million British holidaymakers are set to leave the country over the Easter weekend (Thursday 17 April to Monday 21 April).

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. 

The Canary Islands, mainland Spain, Balearic Islands, and Turkey are the top most popular short haul sunshine destinations. Long haul, the holiday parks of Florida are still selling well, while the Caribbean is proving to be a favourite among UK visitors for this holiday period as there have been some great deals on offer.

Short breaks to European cities such as Amsterdam, Dublin, Barcelona, Prague, Venice, Rome and Madrid are also perfect for the Easter holidays, while further afield, New York is back as the top city destination.


Well over one million passengers are scheduled to depart from UK airports over the weekend, with 800,000 leaving the country through the seven British Airports Authority airports. 50,000 are departing from Luton, 120,000 from Manchester airport, 38,000 from Birmingham and 30,000 from East Midlands Airport. 

In addition, more than half a million are expected to travel under or over the English Channel to France, the Netherlands and Spain including 60,000 on the Eurostar. Many travellers are taking the train or car to France visiting holiday homes following the axing of some no-frills airline routes earlier this year.

Stephen Bath, ABTA’s President, said: “The travel industry has gone through a very difficult period in the last few months. However I am delighted to see that holidaymakers have not allowed the current situation to put them off taking a well-earned break this Easter and are travelling in greater numbers than ever”

Related stories on ITN:

(07/03/2003) ABTA Says Brits Still Determined to Travel

(27/01/2003) ABTA`s Holiday Trends for 2003