Thomson expects this weekend to be the busiest for holiday bookings

UK-based holiday providers Thomson and First Choice are expecting this Saturday, January 11, to be the busiest day of the year for holiday bookings.

Based on past booking patterns, the holiday companies, both part of TUI UK & Ireland, are expecting over a million people to go online or visit their high street stores on January 11, termed Sunshine Saturday.

With a growing number of Brits looking to escape to warmer climes following a rainy Christmas break and predictions of freezing weather, Thomson and First Choice are expecting to see 35,000 customers book to go on holiday in 2014. Bookings are predicted to peak in-store at 2pm and online at 8.45pm.

While Greece, the Balearics and Croatia fit the bill for those looking for short-haul destinations, Jamaica, Mauritius and Puerto Vallarta in Mexico are set to top the list for those seeking faraway sunny locales.

Thomson Cruises Pride of Panama itinerary on board the Thomson Dream is expected to be a Sunshine Saturday bestseller as Brits look to explore countries including Panama, Costa Rica and Colombia from the ship’s new home port in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Jeremy Ellis, marketing and digital director for Thomson and First Choice, said: ‘With Christmas firmly out of the way many people want a holiday in the sunshine to look forward to. Over the last few years we’ve seen a trend towards booking holidays earlier and with record bookings over Christmas we’re expecting the rush to continue with our busiest day of year this Saturday. It’s also the perfect time for Brits to take advantage of some of the great January deals available to places like Greece and Croatia or further afield to Jamaica and Mauritius.

Thomson and First Choice have also recently announced holiday packages for the summer. First Choice is offering 14-night holidays to Mauritius in April and May on an all-inclusive basis from £1,599 per person, saving £740 per couple. Meanwhile, in May Thomson is offering 7-night holidays to Rhodes from £539 per person, saving £190 per couple; 7-night holidays to Jamaica, from £999 per person, saving £450 per couple; and 7-night holidays to Croatia from £439 per person, saving £200 per couple.