Julia Lo Bue-Said On Christmas Booking Trends 2023

Julia Lo Bue-Said, CEO, The Advantage Travel Partnership, said: “Brits are once again showing a strong desire to travel over the Christmas period. Collectively, across our UK-wide travel agency partnership, we are seeing bookings departing from 18th-28th December up by 44% compared to the same period last year. This follows recently released data from Barclays which showed that the travel sector has continued to perform strongly, citing year-on-year spending with travel agents having increased by 9.2% in November and that the travel sector as a whole has now recorded double-digit growth in 11 of the past 12 months. 

This long running growth continues to demonstrate that people are still very much looking to catch up on missed trips from the covid years and is also further evidence that people continue to prioritise travel. It also shows that with signs of the rise of inflation rates slowing, Brits are feeling cautiously optimistic, and that this growth should continue into the new year. 

Since the beginning of October 30% of all bookings made have been for travel over the Christmas period, telling us that waiting until the last minute or possibly making impulsive purchases, investing in new experiences and making memories are important factors. We are also seeing that in many cases people are looking to invest more in their holidays by travelling for longer periods with the average stay being 8 nights. Whilst people are looking to make the most of their holidays this winter, they are also seeking ways to travel that are also cost-effective which is evident in the continued high demand for all-inclusive holidays, which currently represents a 32% share of all Christmas departures.

It is clear that Brits are looking to seize the chance of escaping the gloomy UK weather in search of sunshine, with the top destinations being Canaries and mainland Spain.  Overall Tenerife is the most popular destination taking 9% share of all Christmas departures and 40% share of Canary Island bookings.

After years of uncertainty, there has been continued demand for long-haul flights to popular destinations, making up for 22% of all festive breaks this year with USA, Caribbean, Far East, Dubai & Australia being the top runners.

Those looking to escape somewhere closer to home have been booking trips to Paris, Reykjavik, Prague & Krakow as city breaks took 7% of overall bookings during the period.

Ultimately, these Christmas trends are really encouraging for the UK outbound travel industry. The wide range of trips that are being booked shows that increasingly Brits for whatever reason they choose to travel are placing an even higher importance on getting away and booking their trips through a travel agent.” 

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