Mexico and Kenya among Brits' Christmas getaways

20th Dec 2013

Mexico and Kenya are among the long-haul destinations British-based sun-seekers are heading out to this Christmas, according to research.

Morocco is among the more popular festive hotspots closer to home.

Britons seeking an alternative Christmas this year might try an Indian carnival in Goa, Brazilian beach parties in Rio or South African minstrels in South Africa.

Around four million people are expected to depart the UK from leading airports, with the busiest period forecast from Friday to Monday, December 23.

These include 1.7 million passengers from Heathrow and 700,000 from Gatwick.

In addition, between 100,000 and 360,000 travellers will be departing from Luton, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow and Edinburgh, besides various regional airports.

India-bound tourists with a thirst for cultural sites and parties can find tailor-made holidays in Goa this Christmas, where Catholic churches from the Portuguese colonial era stand alongside Hindu temples.

Celebrations on the beaches here, and further south in Kerala, capitalise on the mild climate.

Stars adorn trees outside Christian homes and locals full of coconut-milk sweets enjoy carolling in the days up to Christmas, then midnight mass is followed by a drumming parade.

Holidaymakers on festive city breaks to Rio de Janeiro can enjoy a massive Christmas tree floating in a lagoon.

The city's festivities blend traditional mass with music and revelry, welcoming in the New Year with fireworks, champagne and live sounds on Copacabana beach, attracting more than two million people.

Meanwhile, Cape Town's beaches are never busier than at Christmas.

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens' carol concerts are family-friendly. The Minstrel Carnival is staged on January 1-2 in the City Bowl and Bo Kaap district. It dates back to the 19th-century known as the "second new year" and includes 10,000 vividly-attired dancers.

Mark Tanzer, Abta chief executive, warned festive air travellers: "As the roads will be busy, Abta recommends that holidaymakers should leave plenty of time to get to the airport and check for engineering work before heading off if using public transport."

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