Canary Islands Tenerife Adobestock Mike Mareen

ABTA: Six million UK holidaymakers opt for winter sun breaks

Nearly six million people have sought, or are planning to seek, warmer climes this winter, according to a study by ABTA, the UK-based travel trade association.

According to its members, the Canary Islands, a Spanish archipelago off the coast of northwestern Africa, remain the top destination for British tourists looking for sunnier weather, with Fuerteventura, Tenerife, Lanzarote and Gran Canaria seeing strong bookings. At this time of the year, temperatures in the region are often more than three times the average temperature at home, usually peaking between 17-20°C.

Dubai and Egypt are proving popular mid-haul choices, and Southern Turkey is opening up with more flights to Antalya and Dalaman throughout the winter season.

Orlando, Cape Town, Mexico and the Caribbean – whether it be for a cruise or visiting a specific destination such as Barbados, Jamaica or St Lucia – are the pick of the long-haul destinations. For those looking for an alternative to the classic beach break, Thailand, Singapore and the rest of Southeast Asia offer options for a more adventurous trip.

Winter sunseekers may want to consider destinations such as Morocco, Cyprus and the Algarve. While they may not reach the scorching temperatures of the summer months, they’re much warmer and sunnier than the UK winter average temperature.

Around 28% young holidaymakers most likely to take a winter break

Overall, more than two-fifths (44%) of people have taken, or are considering taking, a winter holiday this season. While winter sun is the most preferred option (25%), the second most popular trip is a city break (21%), with 25-34-year-olds being the most likely to take one (28%).

Package holidays continue to dominate the overseas UK holiday market, with half of the holidays people take each year being package breaks – a figure that has held steady since 2014.

Packages also provide excellent value for money, with more than half of the holidaymakers (51%) saying they have booked a package because it was the best option for the price.

Victoria Bacon, director of brand and business development at the travel association, said: “A holiday with some sunshine is a great way to beat the winter blues, and now is a great time to explore your options and book a winter getaway. Whether that’s visiting a popular destination, going on a cruise or trying something adventurous – holidaymakers will find there are great value last minute breaks available.”


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