• Six and a half million people* predicted to book a holiday before the year is out
  • Holiday makers spend an average of 15 hours and six minutes planning a holiday
  • Spain retains crown as top holiday destination for 2017
  • All package holidays with flights sold by UK companies must be ATOL protected, ensuring your money is safe and secure

New research by travel protection body, ATOL, has revealed that between Boxing Day and New Year's Eve over one million people each day will book their next holiday. Over 13 million people are planning to research their travel plans after Christmas lunch to satisfy their wanderlust and find a holiday faster than they can digest their festive feast. Furthermore, one in ten eager travellers (10 per cent) will go so far as to book their next trip as a little extra gift to themselves before the New Year, totalling a staggering 6.5 million people booking in the next six days.

Almost a third of people (29 per cent) are dreaming of a white sandy beach, rather than a white Christmas this year. Holiday planners are set to spend 15 hours and six minutes researching their 2017 holiday, the equivalent of watching Love Actually eight times. Social media will be their first stop as the most popular destination for holiday inspiration, with the average person spending two hours and 36 minutes scrolling for palm trees on smart phones and tablets. Next stop on the holiday research highway is checking out review sites with holidaymakers spending two hours and 18 minutes trawling forums for advice.

The research by ATOL lists Spain as the number one holiday choice for 2017. Spain has now topped the charts since records began more than 25 years ago, with its proximity to the UK and guaranteed good weather contributing to its popularity. Italy and the USA take second and third in the 2017 top 10 most wanted destinations list. Jumping up the list for 2017 is the Caribbean with double the number of people putting it on their holiday list than the year before.

Top 10 most wanted destinations for 2017

  Destination Percentage of people wanting to visit in 2017
1 Spain 28%
2 Italy 19%
3 USA 18%
4 Greece 13%
5 France 11%
6 Caribbean 10%
7 Portugal 10%
8 Canada 7%
9 Cyprus 6%
10 Australia 6%

Sun, savings and snaps are the top three priorities for holiday makers. Escaping the gloom for guaranteed sunshine is still most important for UK tourists, closely followed by good value for money. UK holidaymakers want an authentic experience with one in five tourists (22 per cent) travelling in search of natural beauty and interesting culture.

Top 10 reasons for selecting a holiday destination

  Reasons for selecting a holiday destination Percentage of people agreeing
1 Weather 62%
2 Reasonable prices 55%
3 Natural beauty 45%
4 Interesting culture 39%
5 Food/cuisine 37%
6 Sandy beaches 36%
7 Short travel 19%
8 Activities 18%
9 Family friendly 16%
10 Friendly staff 16%

Andy Cohen, Head of ATOL said, “The period between Christmas and the New Year is one of the busiest times of the year for holiday bookings, with around 13 million of us looking to find a holiday deal during the break. While many people in the UK will spend hours trawling the internet for the best deals and social media for the best locations, it's equally important that they put just a couple of minutes aside to check their holiday is ATOL protected.

“Having an ATOL certificate means that your holiday is financially protected, so if the worst happens and your travel company goes bust, you will still be able to get home and will not lose your hard earned cash. For added peace of mind next year, those looking into their next holiday this festive season should look out for the ATOL logo to ensure they can fully enjoy their well-earned holiday - safe in the knowledge they are protected. “

Visit http://www.packpeaceofmind.co.uk/ for more information about ATOL protection.

Media Enquiries

For more information, please contact Katie Murray / Moe McCarthy
Email: atol@eulogy.co.uk
Phone: 020 3077 2000

Notes to Editors

Survey of 2,000 UK adults who holiday abroad conducted by Mortar on behalf of ATOL between 15th and 19th December 2016.

*Based on figure from Worldometers which estimates the UK population at 65,000,000

All package holidays involving flights booked with a UK company must be ATOL protected. This means that if the travel company or one of its suppliers ceases trading, you will be able to continue your holiday and return home at no extra cost. If the company ceases trading before you go on holiday, you will get a full refund.

Holidays involving flights and accommodation booked with separate companies are not ATOL protected. ATOL advises anyone booking trips in this way to take out comprehensive travel insurance and they may wish to make their booking with a credit card for additional cover.

About ATOL

  1. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is the UK's specialist aviation regulator. Its regulatory activities range from making sure that the aviation industry meets the highest technical and operational safety standards to preventing holidaymakers from being stranded abroad or losing money because of tour operator insolvency.
  2. The ATOL scheme covers the traditional package holiday, some individual flights and holidays known by the industry as 'Flight-Plus'. A 'Flight-Plus' booking is one that includes a flight plus accommodation and/or car hire, so long as these separate parts of the holiday are requested within a day of each other.
  3. The Air Travel Trust (ATT) is the primary source of funding when an ATOL holder fails. It is administered on behalf of the ATT by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).