Christmas dreams turn to sunshine getaways as Peterborough's Thomas Cook enjoys a surge in holiday bookings

Thomas Cook has enjoyed a surge in holiday bookings over Christmas.
Thomas Cook has enjoyed a surge in holiday bookings over Christmas.
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Amid the tinsel and turkey, a huge number of people found time from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day to book holidays with Peterborough's Thomas Cook.

According to online search and booking data from Thomas Cook, Boxing Day was particularly popular for package holiday and flight bookings with the Canaries topping the getaway dream for most people.

The number of online searches were up 60 per cent compared to an average weekday during winter while bookings were up 20 per cent.

News of the surge in bookings over the festive period will gladden the hearts of Thomas Cook bosses who are embroiled in a struggle to overturn a £163 million loss made in the year to the end of September.

Even on Christmas Day, the thoughts of many people had turned to that sunshine break.

Searches for holidays on thomascook.com and flights on thomascookairlines.com peaked between 8pm and 9pm on Christmas Day as people had one eye on Call the Midwife and Coronation Street and the other on the small screen looking for a holiday.

The holiday giant, which employs more than 1,000 people at its offices in Westpoint, Lynch Wood, says that a growing number of online searches have come through people's mobile phones.

A spokeswoman said: "Since Christmas Eve, mobile has been the most popular device for searching and booking, with its share growing eight per cent and 14 per cent respectively year-on-year on thomascook.com.

"Mobile search on thomascookairlines.com was up 30 per cent year-on-year and bookings up 35 per cent."

The top 10 most popular package holiday destinations (based on booking data from thomascook.com between 24th and 27th December)

Canaries

Turkey

United States

Egypt

Mexico

Cuba

Tunisia

Balearics

Greece

Mainland Spain

While the Canaries and Turkey take the number one and two spots for both families and adults-only, creeping up the popularity stakes are long-haul destinations including the USA, Mexico and Cuba.

In fact, online bookings for long-haul package holidays are up 64 per cent from December 24 to December 27 compared to the same period over Christmas 2017.

The top 10 most popular flight-only destinations (based on booking data from thomascookairlines.com from December 24 to December 27)

Dalaman

Tenerife

Banjul

Lanzarote

Antalya

Hurghada

Goa

Orlando

Fuerteventura

New York

Like the tour operator, Turkey and Canaries are proving popular but flights to the Gambia and India made the top 10, with Gambia flight bookings up 23 per cent year on year as more people look for somewhere further afield.

One in four (24 per cent) flight-only bookings over this period were from 25-34 year olds, followed by 45-54 year olds (21 per cent).

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