Christmas sun sought by record numbers

A record number of Swedes are leaving the country to go away on holiday for Christmas, with sunny destinations like the Canary Islands and old favourite Thailand proving most popular.

Christmas sun sought by record numbers
Many Swedes are opting for warmer climes during Christmas. File photo: puroticorico/Flickr

Travel agency Ticket has stated that bookings around the Christmas and New Year period have increased by three percent compared to last year, which was also a record. Competitors Resia travel group says it is also experiencing a high volume of bookings.

"We're a little bit above last year's booking numbers, which was a record Christmas for us. The biggest interest is for places with the sun and swimming," Ingela Schönning, head of communications for Resia, told the TT news agency.

While Swedes have long beaten a path to Thailand to escape the long winter, destinations which aren't known for warm weather are also attracting interest.

"There are many seeking trips to big cities like New York and London," added Schönning.

Part of the added appeal this year is because Christmas Eve falls on a Wednesday with holidays observed through Friday.

December 24th,25th, 26th, 31st and January 1st are all public holidays in Sweden meaning those who book off Mondays 22nd and 29th plus Tuesdays 23rd and 30th, as well Friday January 2nd can potentially lap up a two-week holiday. January 6th is also a national holiday in Sweden. 

As a result many people are booking the days off from work in between in order to get a longer vacation.

"Many want to be spared the Christmas stress in Sweden and have a nice holiday instead," said Karin Starkman Ahlstedt, head of communications with Ticket to TT.

Last year The Local reported that the most popular travel destination for Swedes was Scandinavian neighbour Denmark. Other favourites were Spain and Turkey.  

TT/The Local/pr

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