Spain, including the Balearic and Canary islands, is the most popular flight destination for travellers in the northeast of England, according to local newspaper, the Sunday Sun. The news means that the growing popularity of resorts in Turkey and Eastern Europe is not affecting the sale of tickets on more traditional routes, such as Alicante, Tenerife, or Palma de Mallorca.
However, the statistics, which were obtained from the Civil Aviation Authority, indicate that Amsterdam, not Spain, was the most travelled-to destination in 2010. The Sunday Sun, while acknowledging Amsterdam’s popularity, did not reserve many column inches for the Dutch city. “We’ve discounted Amsterdam”, explained Coreena Ford, journalist at the Sunday Sun, “because around 75% (of people) who journey to Schiphol Airport don’t stay long”.
Schiphol, with its six runways, offers routes to many global destinations, including Hong Kong, Adelaide in Australia, Washington in the USA, and even the village of Alluitsup Paa in Greenland. The airport is particularly important for people in the northeast, as resident airline, KLM, recently expanded its schedules to include extra flights between Durham and Amsterdam Schiphol.
Alicante in southeastern Spain received 35,346 holidaymakers from Durham Tees Valley during 2010, making it the second most popular destination after Amsterdam. Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands, was 445% more popular in 2010 than during the previous year, while the number of people choosing Palma for their holiday fell by 32% over the figures for 2009.
Robin Tudor, PR chief at Peel Airports, said that Mediterranean resorts are “always popular”. Around 750,000 people travelled to Spain from Newcastle and Durham airports in 2010.