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‘Sunshine Saturday’ to deliver holiday bookings boost

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Powered<span id= by Guardian.co.uk” width=”140″ height=”45″ />This article titled “‘Sunshine Saturday’ to deliver holiday bookings boost” was written by Will Coldwell, for theguardian.com on Friday 6th January 2017 11.52 UTC

Millions of UK holidaymakers will be coping with the post-festive season return to work by booking their annual holiday this weekend, as travel companies prepare for their busiest day of the year.

Dubbed “Sunshine Saturday”, 7 January will see a huge spike in bookings for the UK’s biggest holiday companies, as tourists plot their escapes during the dreariest month of the year.

Thomson and First Choice said they are expecting nearly one million people to visit one of their stores or websites this Saturday, with more than 27,500 customers expected to book in the 24 hours from midnight on 6 January. Thomas Cook is expecting Saturday to be its busiest day of the year, and over the weekend expects to take more than double the bookings of a normal weekend.

Other travel companies expecting a surge in interest include flight comparison site Cheapflights.co.uk, which estimates searches will be up by 58% on Saturday night, with an even bigger spike on Monday 9 January, when those who have not yet returned work make it back to their desks.

Monarch Airlines is also expecting 9 January to be its busiest day of the year, with more than 32,000 flight bookings expected on the first day of its busiest booking week. Emirates Holidays has forecast that its biggest day will be sometime this week – last year saw bookings increase 320% on 6 January.

Caribtours also said 7 January is likely to be its busiest day, with January bookings counting for 40% of its bookings for the entire year, while cycle holidayoperator Saddle Skedaddle also generates 20% of its bookings in January.

Smaller travel companies are expecting a peak in bookings later in the month. G Adventures, Cosmos Tours and Essential Italy all said their busiest day of the year falls during the last week of January. Intrepid Travel is expecting a similar pattern; having already enjoyed its best-ever day on 3 January it is expecting bookings to increase further later in the month.

Intrepid Travel’s UK and Europe managing director, Michael Edwards said: “There’s a definite feeling that customers are looking to leave behind what may have been a difficult year – they are optimistic for 2017 and want that perfect break to look forward to.”

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