When East Goes South

By: Roger Munns

If there's one thing guaranteed to boost holiday sales, it's the weather. And in Britain's case they not only had a summer of floods but a cold windy winter too, and it's being reflected in a bumper time for holiday companies taking early summer bookings and winter sunshine holidays too.

Airports across the UK are reporting record numbers of passengers, and East Midlands Airport, a fast growing regional airport serving Nottinghamshire, Rutland and Leicestershire, is no exception.

Passengers numbers were up by over an impressive twelve per cent between Christmas Eve and January 2 compared to the same tme a year ago, with not just holiday makres jetting off to the sun but with cheap airlines offering good deals increasing numbers of families visiting loved ones for the festive period.

Included in the destinations travelled to are the Caribbean, with some holiday makers flying to take a cruise, the Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca on the Spanish mainland, and the Canary island of Tenerife which has weather hovering around the 70 degree farenheit level at Christmas and New Year.

One new route proving popular from the East Midlands is Innsbruck in Austria, for ski holidays.

Skiing is to Innsbruck as tennis is to Wimbledon and it's because of this that British ski enthusiasts seek regular flights there. Economical flights are even better and ski fans are getting their choice as more flights run to and from this natural wonder in western Austria, with the East Midlands being the latest addition.

Starting in December 2007 there will be budget flights six days a week from London Gatwick Airport to Innsbruck. This weekly schedule will accommodate Britons who want inexpensive travel to a locale that lives and breathes skiing.

Innsbruck is located in the federal state of Tyrol. Located in the Inn Valley between high mountains, it is ideally suited to winter activities and skiing in particular. The name Innsbruck means "the bridge over the Inn".

Innsbruck has hosted the Winter Olympics twice: in 1964 and 1976. It has also hosted the Winter Paralympics: in 1984 and 1988. It is a testament to its challenging world-class courses that it has had the honour of hosting these events. Of course, there's also the breathtaking panorama of this beautiful city and its surrounding slopes.

Innsbruck offers what skiers love and want in abundance: an average of 321 inches of snow falls there annually. It also offers scenic accommodations and European charm. A trip to Innsbruck in the winter can provide the exhilaration of sport combined with the tranquility of nature.

Innsbruck has a population of over 117,000 in an area of roughly 105 square kilometers. It's an area rich in winter sports activities other than skiing, with snow boarding and snowshoeing viable activities. Even winter hiking along its scenic trails is an option. Ski wise, aside from its more difficult runs, it is also popular for its courses that cater to the novice and intermediate skier. Ski-jumping facilities are also present for those training in this daring sport or hoping to venture into this type of activity.

It also has numerous trails for cross-country skiing. Trails lead from the city to the outlying villages and countryside. A popular run for Nordic enthusiasts is the Buchen Loop that runs below the mountains and leads to a plateau that overlooks the Inn Valley.

For those East Midlanders prefering a relaxing holiday in the sun, their choice of holiday destination seems to be Tenerife this winter.

Winter holiday makers returning from Tenerife will tell you it's not just the climate that draws them - often in the 70's farenheit while back home it's around freezing point - but the first class resorts and hotels which make a winre holiday a perfect break. The island's tourism is made up of nearly 50 per cent British visitors, of whom a third will return to Tenerife again.

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