With weather forecasters predicting that Britain is likely to stay in the grip of the current cold snap over the coming Easter holiday weekend and beyond, a mass exodus to warmer climes is already underway.
According to travel industry figures, 1.7 million Britons will be taking advantage of the Easter break and jetting away from the ice, snow and biting winds that are currently afflicting the UK. A flood of last minute bookings by chilly Brits has boosted traveller numbers to well above the average for Easter, and topping the winter escape destinations are Tunisia, the Canary Islands, Turkey, Egypt and the Balearic Islands. Long haul destinations centre mainly on the USA, with Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Miami and San Francisco all proving popular, while better than average snow conditions in Europe mean that France and Austria are proving to be the destinations of choice for skiers.
Over the coming holiday weekend, Heathrow airport is expecting to accommodate 600,000 vacationing Brits, while Gatwick expects 214,000, Manchester and Stansted 110,000 each, and Luton 55,000.
The chief executive of the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), Mark Tanzer, was quoted in the Daily Mail, saying, ‘After two wet summers and no end in sight to the winter, many Brits are desperate for some sunshine. We’ve seen a surge in last-minute bookings to warm destinations and ski lovers are also in for a treat with some of the best snow conditions seen for years.’
However, despite the rush to leave the country the RAC is still predicting that the nation’s roads will be busy, with as many as 7 million motorists taking to the highways en route to UK and European destinations. Congestion is expected at peak getaway times, especially in Northwest and Southwest England.