TUI, Belgium’s largest tour operator, recorded significantly more bookings for flying holidays over the Christmas holidays than last year. Almost one in three bookings have been made in the past three weeks. All the sunny destinations are back: Spain remains by far the favorite destination, but non-European countries are also attracting many people and even recording the strongest growth. City tours are back and again attracting many travelers this year. Snow is also sought after en masse, with the French Alps receiving two-thirds of skiers. Christmas and New Years fall this time around, which means more Belgians leave during the week.
Traditionally sunny destinations attract many travelers for this winter break. At least 73% of TUI travelers travel to a warm destination. Spain remains by far the most popular destination with 60% of holidaymakers. More than half of them travel to the Canary Islands, which guarantee high temperatures. Therefore, this area was fully booked for several weeks, with the exception of a few hotels.
This year, Belgian families are increasingly looking forward to sunny destinations with an excellent price-quality ratio: Egypt, Turkey, Morocco and Tunisia are very popular and experiencing strong growth. Mexico and the Dominican Republic remain the leaders in exotic getaways, but African destinations Senegal and Gambia are also on the rise. All of these countries were inaccessible during the pandemic and are showing amazing growth compared to last year.
This year, the Belgian prefers to leave on weekdays because the festivities around Christmas and New Years fall on Saturdays and Sundays. Also this Christmas holidays there is a trend of last minute booking. Due to scarcity in a number of destinations, last minute bookers have often had to be content with a limited choice from the remaining range.
Winter holidays are, of course, synonymous with winter sports: 13% of TUI travelers go skiing. Ski fanatics have known for some time that supply during these two weeks is rapidly dwindling and they traditionally decide in advance. Here the last-minute trend was not so obvious. Two-thirds of skiers go to the French Alps, a favorite destination for winter sports enthusiasts for years. This year, the second week of the Christmas holidays has been the most popular for winter sports fans: the French school holidays have already passed, so accommodation remains available and at a lower price, a godsend for many Belgians.
City breaks have certainly not been so good since the outbreak of the pandemic as commuters have sought to avoid crowded places. Now the situation has completely changed and TUI has noticed a strong increase in bookings compared to last year. The city that made the most impressive comeback is London: The Belgian is no longer affected by Brexit and London has always had a festive atmosphere, especially towards the end of the year. Even today, Belgians decide at the last minute to book a trip to the city and thus spend their last vacation days of the year in a grand way.
Top 5 countries for flying holidays: Spain, Egypt, Cape Verde, Mexico, Tunisia
Top 5 destinations for flying holidaysTenerife, Costa Blanca, Costa del Sol, Gran Canaria, Cancun
Top 5 ski holidaysFrance, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Italy
Top 5 city tours: Paris, London, Amsterdam, Rome, Barcelona