The number of people from the UK planning to celebrate Christmas in the Spanish sunshine has rocketed thanks to a crash in holiday prices, with bookings to top destinations up by as much at 12% compared to last year.

Research by The Co-operative Travel of over 29,000 holiday bookings for Christmas and New Year, shows that the price of a Christmas holiday in mainland Spain or the Canaries has dropped by as much as £388 for a family of four, as the country attempts to boost its struggling holiday industry.

 

As a result, bookings to Spanish winter sun favourites such as Tenerife, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura are all showing a significant increase for Christmas holidays.

Trevor Davis, director of retail distribution at The Co-operative Travel says: “A significant fall in prices combined with the early onset of winter weather in the UK, is tempting more people to opt for a Christmas dash to popular winter sun destinations. With savings of nearly £100 per person, there are some great bargains to be found if you know where to look.” Experts also believe that this may be an early indication that Spain will make a comeback in 2011, after seeing its position as the UK’s number one holiday destination threatened over the last two years.

Davis continues: “The holiday market is likely to be very price sensitive in 2011 as holidaymakers look to get the best possible value for their budget. If these price falls in Spanish resorts extend into the summer market, we could see a significant swing back to the traditional holiday destinations. As a result, star performers of the last two years such as Morocco, Egypt, Turkey and Tunisia (the so-called METT resorts) may lose out.

Trevor added: “Spain may also benefit from the impact of increased Air Passenger Duty, introduced on 1 November, which most severely impacts long-haul flights.

“Our research shows that both Orlando and Barbados have seen a fall in bookings this Christmas (18% and 3% respectively). This may be the first sign of travelers voting with their feet and avoiding the tax, which can amount to an extra £30 per person for the USA and an extra £60 per person for the Carribean.”

TOP DESTINATIONS FOR UK CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR HOLIDAYS

1. Tenerife 2. Sharm El Sheikh 3. Lanzarote 4. Orlando 5. Benidorm 6. Gran Canaria 7. Fuerteventura 8. Barbados 9. Goa 10. Costa Del Sol BIGGEST GROWTH IN BOOKINGS FOR UK CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR HOLIDAYS 1. Fuerteventura – 12% 2. Tenerife – 10% 3. Sharm El Sheikh – 9% 4. Lanzarote – 4%

BIGGEST PRICE FALLS (BASED ON AVERAGE BOOKING PRICE FOR A FAMILY OF FOUR)

1. Fuerteventura - £388 2. Benidorm - £236 3. Costa Del Sol - £228 4. Tenerife - £124

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