The Christmas travel getaway
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More than four million Brits are expected to head overseas from tomorrow (20 December) as the getaway for the festive period begins.
Tomorrow is one of the busiest days for travel, with more than 2.9 million people due to fly from London airports; 360,000 from Manchester, and more than 100,000 from Scottish airports.
British Airways will fly more than 115,000 people tomorrow and will serve up Christmas dinners and puddings onboard, while easyJet’s busiest day will be Sunday (22 December) with more than 60,000 people due to travel with the airline on that day alone.
“This is set to be easyJet’s busiest ever Christmas and we are delighted that so many people have chosen to start the festive period with us. We are doing everything possible to make travel easy and friendly this Christmas,” said Catherine Lynn, group commercial director at easyJet.
In the UK, overnight trips are expected to generate GBP1.9 billion for the economy and 20% of the adult population is due to make a domestic trip, said VisitEngland. Around 67% of these will be to visit friends and family, with 12.1 million planning to visit a Christmas market and 7.5m taking part in activities such as ice skating, a pantomime or visit to Santa.
“The Christmas holidays provide a great economic boost for domestic tourism with many people travelling across the country to see family and friends or visiting some of the wonderful attractions England has to offer,” said Minster for Tourism Helen Grant.
Eurostar said it expects more than 210,000 Brits to take a short break in Europe with this Friday, next Friday and Monday 30 December its busiest days. Free festive activities will take place onboard in the next five days, including visits from Santa from this Saturday and surprises such as free upgrades.
Ferry routes will also be popular, with operator MyFerryLink adding night sailings at the end of this week to cope with demand.
Coach operator National Express said this Monday (23 December) will be one of its busiest travel days but Friday 27 December is also a popular day, suggesting that family visits will take place during the week with people to return home for New Year. Bookings at the company from 23 December to 1 January are up 10% on last year.
“Christmas and New Year are traditionally amongst the busiest times of the year and this year millions of Britons are heading off overseas for guaranteed snow or some much needed winter sun. Many will also be jetting off to visit friends and family or heading for a hotel break in the UK,” said ABTA’s chief executive Mark Tanzer. “As the roads will be busy, ABTA recommends that holidaymakers should leave plenty of time to get to the airport and check for engineering work before heading off if using public transport.”
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