Winter sun most popular for a winter break

    Over 12 million people are set to take a winter holiday during the coming months according to research by ABTA* with similar numbers still considering their holiday plans.

    As temperatures drop, winter sun is the most popular option with 43% of people planning a winter break heading to sunnier climes. Whilst city breaks have overtaken beach holidays to be the most popular type of holiday throughout the year, they take the second spot for winter holidays. A further 18% are planning a winter sports holiday, with an increase in numbers since 2012 due in part to so-called ‘lapsed skiers’ planning a return to the slopes as the economy recovers.

    Table 1.1 – Winter holidays to be taken by those planning a break

       2014  2013  2012
     Winter sun  43%  40%  39%
     City break  35%  39%  31%
    Skiing/ snowboarding  18%  15%  10%
    Don't know what type yet  3%  2%  9%

    People aged 25-34 are the most likely to take a winter holiday with over a quarter (27%) stating that they will take one, they are followed by people over 65 (24%) suggesting that winter breaks are most popular with people who more likely to able to holiday off-peak.

    For winter sun, popular destinations include The Canary Islands where temperatures will be around 23c this weekend and North African countries including Tunisia and Morocco. Antigua, The Maldives, Mexico and Thailand are among the most popular long haul winter sun destinations.

    City breaks are often combined at this time of year with visiting a Christmas market; favourite European destinations are Berlin, Frankfurt, Paris and Vienna with London, Edinburgh and the Frankfurt Market in Birmingham all popular in the UK.

    Winter sports holidays are most popular with younger travellers and people aged 16-24 are over twice as likely to be taking one, 39% of 16-24 year olds planning a winter holiday will take a winter sports holiday. Resorts in France, Italy and Austria remain the most popular destinations but travellers will also be heading for emerging ski destinations in Poland, Slovenia and Bulgaria.

    Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive said: “During the winter months, an incredible range of holidays are available to British holidaymakers so it’s no wonder that so many people will choose to take advantage of this and plan a winter break. We’ve seen a small increase in the number of people taking three or more holidays a year and it looks like lots of these people will be heading away this winter.”

    About ABTA

    ABTA has been a trusted travel brand for over 65 years. Our purpose is to help our Members to grow their businesses successfully and sustainably, and to help their customers travel with confidence.

    The ABTA brand stands for support, protection and expertise. This means consumers have confidence in ABTA and a strong trust in ABTA Members. These qualities are core to us as they ensure that holidaymakers remain confident in the holiday products that they buy from our Members.

    We help our Members and their customers navigate through today's changing travel landscape by raising standards in the industry; offering schemes of financial protection; providing an independent complaints resolution service should something go wrong; giving guidance on issues from sustainability to health and safety and by presenting a united voice to government to ensure the industry and the public get a fair deal.

    ABTA currently has around 1,200 Members, with a combined annual UK turnover of £33.07 billion. For more details about what we do, what being an ABTA Member or Partner means, and how we help the British public travel with confidence visit www.abta.com. 

    * One in five (19%) people are planning a winter holiday with one in five (23%) still undecided

    Table 1.2 – People planning a winter holiday

       2014  2013  2012
    Planning a holiday  19%  19%  21%
     Undecided  23%  21%  19%

    Consumer research was conducted by Arkenford Ltd (www.arkenford.co.uk) who specialise in tourism and leisure market research. The ABTA Consumer Trends survey generated response from a nationally representative sample of 2001 consumers using an online research methodology and related to holiday booking habits in the 12 months to July 2014. Fieldwork was conducted in July 2014.