Three million people expected to head overseas for Christmas

At least three million people will head overseas for the Christmas and New Year period this year, ABTA has predicted.

Holidaymakers will be travelling to the traditional destinations, such as Tenerife, Egypt, Turkey and the Caribbean, while extra services from Manchester to the Middle East and Dubai are also proving popular, said ABTA.

Mid December snowfall in Europe has meant that the ski season has started early, enticing consumers to book last minute skiing holidays.

More than two million travellers will leave the country through BAA airports. Some 1.1 million will depart from Heathrow, 500,000 from Gatwick and 250,000 from Stansted. In Scotland, 200,000 will travel from Glasgow and 105,000 will go from Edinburgh.

Around 420,000 travellers are expected to travel on Eurostar to make a quick getaway over the holidays or visit friends and relatives on the continent. A reduced service is operating because of engineering works in the tunnel.

ABTA president Justin Fleming said: “Holidays, especially at this time of year, are considered so much more than a luxury. They provide a valuable time to unwind and spend quality time with family.”

Meanwhile, Flybe is reporting healthy bookings despite the economic downturn. The airline claims to be well on the way to record a 14% overall increase in passenger numbers over the two week festive season compared with the same period last year.

The airline’s Isle of Man route is up 42% over the same period last year, while Milan and Paris increased 13% and 17% respectively.

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