ABTA identifies festive favourites


According to ABTA, traditional Christmas and New Year holiday destinations for UK travellers are this year being challenged by up-and-coming resorts in the Arab world. Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Turkey and Dubai are all competing with the usual favourites such as Florida, the Caribbean and the Canary Islands, the association said, while southern Spain is selling very well, particularly with travellers from regional UK airports.Meanwhile top destinations for festive skiers this year continue to be France, Austria and Italy, but they are also taking advantage of the weak dollar and heading to the US in greater numbers. Elsewhere Bulgaria and Andorra are seeing growth, especially from families and skiers on a budget.For New Year, Paris, Amsterdam, Prague, Dublin and New York are the most popular destinations.ABTA forecasts a record 2.3m people will leave the UK over the Christmas and New Year period, while BAA estimates 1.5m will depart from its seven airports: Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Southampton, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen. A further 200k are expected to leave from Manchester, 125k from Birmingham, 70k from Nottingham East Midlands and 50k from Luton airports.In addition 200k will travel under or over the Channel to France, the Netherlands and Spain, with more than 100k of them using Eurostar.