Sunshine Saturday – 10th January predicted to be busiest day of year for holiday bookings

10th January is predicted to be the busiest day of the year for holiday bookings according to leading holiday providers Thomson and First Choice.  Based on booking patterns over the last five years and with great deals available including 20,000 free kids places, the holiday giants are expecting over one million people to go online or visit their high street stores on what is being termed Sunshine Saturday.

  • Over one million people expected to visit a Thomson or First Choice shop or website this Saturday
  • 37,000 customers expected to book in 24 hours
  • Mobile and tablet bookings expected to hit all time high with 40% of bookings made on devices

As the post-Christmas blues kick in and Brits look to escape the weather for warmer climes, Thomson and First Choice are expecting to see 37,000 customers book to go on holiday in 2015.  Bookings are predicted to peak in-store at 2.30pm and online at 8.30pm.

Furthermore, Thomson and First Choice are expecting more people than ever before to search for and book their holiday on a tablet or smartphone.  Over 40% of the online bookings made this Saturday are expected to be made via these devices, up 10% versus last year.

With the introduction of the new MyThomson and MyFirstChoice apps with search and book function, Thomson and First Choice are predicting a new mobile booking record for 2015, beating last year’s single purchase of nearly £14,000 for a family holiday to Orlando via a mobile device.

The most popular short/mid haul destinations for the coming year are anticipated to be the Balearics, Canaries and Greece, whilst for those looking for some faraway sun Costa Rica, Mauritius and Mexico are set to top the list.

Thomson Cruises’ Cuban Fusion and Pride of Panama winter itineraries on-board the Thomson Dream are expected to be Sunshine Saturday bestsellers as Brits look to explore countries like Cuba and Central America from the ship’s new home port in Montego Bay, Jamaica. With Thomson Celebration also based in Caribbean for winter, replacing the Dream in its previous port in Barbados, Thomson Cruises also expects to see strong demand for the already popular itineraries sailing to Caribbean favourites such as Antigua, St Kitts and St Maarten. Sailings from Dubrovnik on-board the Thomson Celebration in the summer are also expected to be a hit with adult only itineraries available.

Taking all these holidaymakers away over the coming year, Thomson Airways will carry over 78,000 tonnes of luggage, flying over two million miles to 73 holiday destinations.

Andrew Flintham, Commercial Director, for Thomson and First Choice said: ‘With Christmas now out of the way many people feel they need a holiday in the sunshine to look forward to. Over the last few years we’ve noticed that our customers are booking holidays earlier and with searches over Christmas hitting an all-time high, we’re expecting the rush to continue with our busiest day of year this Saturday. It’s also the perfect time for Brits to take advantage of some of the great new year deals available to places like Croatia and Greece or further afield to Costa Rica, Thailand and Jamaica.”

© Thomson


Tropical storm Gonzalo set to batter Bermuda

The Atlantic hurricane season as a whole in 2014 has been fairly quiet, but the last week has seen two hurricanes develop. Fay briefly reached hurricane status and brushed passed Bermuda. However, this was just a foretaste of what is to come.

Tropical Storm Gonzalo formed just east of the Caribbean on Monday and passed over several islands such as Antigua, Anguilla and St. Martin bringing a period of strong winds and rain. However, it was after moving away from the Caribbean that Gonzalo rapidly strengthened into the strongest hurricane seen in the Atlantic since Hurricane Igor in 2010. At its peak, it was a category 4 hurricane with sustained winds of 145 mph. Since then there have been small fluctuations in intensity, but Gonzalo has maintained its status as a major hurricane.

The last major hurricane to impact Bermuda was Fabian in 2003, which produced sustained winds of 120 mph and a storm surge of three metres to coastal areas causing extensive destruction and some loss of life. Prior to this, we have to go back to 1926 to find a hurricane of similar intensity, which struck Bermuda.

On its current forecast track the eye of Hurricane Gonzalo is expected to pass over or just to the west of Bermuda late today. Winds of over 100 mph are likely together with a storm surge similar to that seen in Hurricane Fabian and accompanied by heavy rain. Consistent forecasts of the track of Gonzalo have allowed residents several days to prepare for the onset of the hurricane, which is likely to have a major impact on the island.

Having crossed Bermuda, Gonzalo is expected to race north-eastwards across the Atlantic. It will weaken as it crosses cooler waters and start to make the transition into a mid-latitude depression. Latest forecasts indicate that the remnants of Gonzalo are likely to pass over the northern UK late on Monday and early on Tuesday. It will bring a brief spell of wet and windy weather with gales in places – fairly typical for this time of year.

At this stage extreme conditions seem unlikely, but we’ll keep a close eye on developments over the next few days and keep everyone up to date if it looks like there is any sign of severe weather heading for the UK.

Official warnings of Atlantic hurricanes are produced by the National Hurricane Center. The Met Office routinely supplies predictions of cyclone tracks from its global forecast model to regional meteorological centres worldwide, which are used along with guidance from other models in the production of forecasts and guidance.

Met Office StormTracker provides a mapped picture of tropical cyclones around the globe with access to track history and six-day forecast tracks for current tropical cyclones from the Met Office global forecast model and latest observed cloud cover and sea surface temperature. We also provide updates on current tropical storms via @metofficestormson Twitter.

© Met Office

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