ABTA – The Travel Association estimates 1.8 million British holidaymakers are set to head overseas over the Easter Bank holiday weekend of 3 April – 6 April making it a particularly busy Easter for overseas departures. Spain is the UK’s favourite foreign holiday destination over the weekend, with the Canary and Balearic Islands the most popular areas. Due to Easter falling quite early this year skiers are also heading off to catch the last of the season’s snow with Switzerland doing particularly well.
Daytime temperatures this weekend are set to reach 23C in Malaga, 30C in the Red Sea resorts in Egypt, and 25C in Turkey. Temperatures in Florida, the most popular long haul destination with its wealth of great beaches and amusement parks are set to hit 26C. The Mexico resorts of the Caribbean coast have also sold well.
Foreign city breaks are popular at this time of the year with the weather being comfortable and the streets less crowded. Paris, Dublin, Amsterdam, Rome, Barcelona and New York are among the top choices. Due to the time in the season, holidaymakers are heading high up to resorts such as Zermatt in Switzerland, Val d’Isere and Tignes in France, Obergurgl in Austria and Cervinia in Italy.
Bookings for UK breaks are also healthy with many customers travelling to traditional sea side resorts, national parks and holiday camps.
Airports are reporting strong numbers: 393,000 will leave from Heathrow, 250,000 from Gatwick, 153,000 from Stansted, 70,000 from Luton.
From the North and the Midlands, 125,000 will leave from Manchester, 51,000 from Birmingham and South West and 23,000 from East Midlands with 37,000 from Bristol airport. Well over 100,000 will be leaving via the Scottish airports with 64,000 departing from Edinburgh alone.
Other regional airports, ferry terminals and the channel tunnel will also be extremely busy over the weekend and Eurostar is reporting that 85,000 will be departing the UK.
Mark Tanzer ABTA Chief Executive said: “Easter is the travel industry’s traditional curtain raiser to the summer and hundreds of thousands of UK holidaymakers will be heading overseas to enjoy some early sun or late snow. Holidaymakers are flocking to the Eurozone to take advantage of the cheaper Euro. While UK breaks have also proved popular with low fuel prices boosting travel around the country.”
Katy Ellis, Sales & Operations Manager, Ski Club of Great Britain said: “The Easter weekend continues to be a popular choice for many Ski Club members looking to make the most of the Bank Holiday and get four days on snow with no time off work. Easter falls at a good time this year in early April when all the resorts are still open, snow conditions are generally still good and temperatures are warm enough to dine alfresco and top up the tan!”