Agents get ready for Sunshine Saturday

By Lisa James
Home » Agents get ready for Sunshine Saturday

ABTA is predicting this Saturday (7 January) will be a ‘bumper’ day for holiday bookings, while Advantage Travel Partnership says it expects to ‘see bookings soar’.

Dubbed ‘Sunshine Saturday’, the first Saturday after the New Year break is typically the most popular day of the year to book a foreign trip and ABTA expects this Saturday to be one of the busiest for a number of a years now COVID travel restrictions have eased.

Ahead of Sunshine Saturday, Advantage is reporting a stong start to sales for 2023, with revenue up by 31% on 2019 and bookings up 4%.

The average booking value among Advantage agents is £2,887; 32% of bookings are for travel within 12 weeks and the top-three destinations being booked are the Canary Islands, Greece and the US. 

Advantage travel partners report pent-up demand for high-end breaks, with 77% of agents seeing an increase in long-haul holiday bookings and 65% seeing an increase in new customers.

CEO Julia Lo Bue-Said said: “Given the current booking trends, we anticipate that there will be a record number of calls and visits to travel agents this Sunshine Saturday as travellers across the UK look to book a much-needed break away and make the most of the great deals available across the wide product range bookable through travel agents.

“It’s amazing to see, amongst all the doom and gloom that so that so many of our members are optimistic about the year ahead – and that so many of them are seeing an increase in new customers.”

ABTA research shows 61% of people are planning to book an overseas trip this year and 31% will book earlier than normal to get the best price, with Spain once again the favourite destination.

Chief Executive Mark Tanzer said: “People’s appetite for holiday taking has remained remarkably resilient despite the ongoing pressure on people’s finances, though there’s definitely a strong focus on securing great value for money.”

After Spain, the US, France, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Germany, Australia, Turkey and Cyprus make up the rest of the 10 most-popular destinations on ABTA’s list.

After that, Austria, Thailand, Canada, Netherlands, UAE, Ireland, Croatia, Mexico, Switzerland and Norway are in places 11-20.

As it is 2023, ABTA has extended the list by three, with Egypt, Iceland and Belgium making up ABTA’s ‘top 23 for 23’ destinations that people say they plan to visit this year.

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