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Association of British Travel Agents

ABTA`s winter and Christmas travel predictions

With expectations for a UK Christmas Getaway topping 2 million this year, the Middle East will be an unlikely beneficiary of thousands of pasty Brits…

With expectations for a UK Christmas Getaway topping 2 million this year, the Middle East will be an unlikely beneficiary of thousands of pasty Brits looking to find sunshine and to get away from the traditions of families, turkey and tinsel.

So far this year there has been a 54% increase in UK visitors to Egypt, a 27% increase to Turkey, an expected 25% increase to Morocco and a 151% increase to Jordan.

The backbone of winter holiday destinations still remains the Canary Islands and the USA. But medium and long-haul has become much more popular as people travel further to find sunshine and new experiences. With the euro continuing to remain strong, destinations outside the eurozone also offer another vital ingredient – value for money.

As a result tour operators and travel agents report that it is destinations such as Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Dubai and Oman that are this year`s `hot` destinations. They offer excellent quality, value for money and with the added bonuses of different cultures, adventure and the chance to explore exciting new territories.

Roughly 10 million British people decide to take holidays during the winter season between November and March, and child-free couples particularly empty-nesters or younger couples – are increasingly waiting to take their long annual break during these months.

The top winter destinations for 2005/06 will be, Spain, France, Cyprus, Turkey, the USA and the Caribbean.

But the `hot` destinations experiencing the most growth this winter will be as follows:

The Middle East,


Tour operators are increasing their programmes to Turkey in the winter and specialists offer holidays to the centre and eastern parts of the country. There will be a solar eclipse in March.


The country believes that 215,000 British people will have visited Morocco by the end of 2005 an increase of 25% on 2004, a result of more tour operators beginning programmes in the country and some tactical promotion. Visitors cannot failed to be impressed by the souks, the mountains, the deserts and of course the beaches.

Egypt. There continues to be phenomenal growth to Egypt`s Red Sea coasts, which promises guaranteed sunshine and phenomenal coral reefs.


Again Dubai has had an excellent year and offers luxury, guaranteed sunshine and fantastic shopping.

Oman. This country on the east of the Saudi peninsular is on the tip of a tourism boom. The country offers a dramatic green landscapes unusual for the region and an alternative to Dubai with its luxury hotels and excellent shopping opportunities.


Has been off the radar for so long, but more stability in Israel has boosted confidence. There are excellent hotels and great value.


Tour operators are expanding their offers to Tunisia, which again offers a touch of the exotic, but is closer than the Canaries, while again offering great value for money.

Martin Wellings, ABTA President said: Everyone knows that tourism is a great way to broaden horizons, break down barriers and is the enemy of narrow-mindedness and bigotry. It`s fantastic that the travel industry is bucking the political trend and that the Middle East is the new `hot` destination to be seen in.

Theodore Koumelis
Co-Founder & Managing Director - Travel Media Applications | Website

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.