John Veitch

In a feature on KARRYON, Travel Corporation CEO John Veitch shares his personal insights on industry trends and the power of travel. This month he discusses the beauty of travelling to Europe for Christmas.

I was talking to my wife about where we would go for our annual family trip over European Summer. “What if we travel at Christmas instead?” she said to me. “I’d love to show the kids the magic of Christmas markets and have them experience a white Christmas. We’ve done Europe in Summer a few times, but Europe is completely different in Winter. It would be like travelling to a whole new country”.

As usual, my wife is right, Winter Christmases in Europe are magical, the fairy light-lined streets, the crisp, white snow crunching under foot and cosy nights in by the fire sipping mulled wine or hot chocolate. Europe truly comes alive at Christmas time and it turns out I didn’t take much convincing to book in our European Christmas adventure.

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In Australia we are blessed to see plenty of hot weather and beach days with summers that can drift on for months but one thing we don’t often get to experience is the transformational effect of the seasons. Enchanting seasonal colours can completely transform a location, shaping your trip overseas into something incredibly unique, something so different to anything you have explored before. From the pink blossoms of spring to the deep orange hues of Autumn and the fresh whites and icy blues of Winter, there is so much beauty to be found in Europe outside of Summer.

I must admit, after my wife’s European winter getaway suggestion, I am very much looking forward to our winter Christmas. I am dreaming about taking the whole family to experience Hamleys in London to shop for toys, hitting Selfridges for some special gifts! The fairy tale Christmas does actually exist in Europe, complete with twinkling lights, snow topped trees, the salvation army band playing Christmas songs even carollers walking through the streets spreading Christmas cheer. We plan on exploring the beautiful Christmas markets in Berlin or Amsterdam and hope to include the beautiful Vienna on this trip too.

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This time of year is truly the ultimate for a multi-generational holiday, so consider getting the grandparents involved for the family trip of a lifetime. By bringing the extended family in on the magic, instead of a typical Christmas at home, you’ll make some incredible holiday memories together. Or, if you really can’t imagine a Christmas outside of Australia, why not embrace the best of both worlds? With flights at affordable prices before mid-December, take the family on a pre-Christmas getaway then relive the memories when you arrive back in Australia for Christmas.

Spreading your travel plans throughout the year allows us to experience the charm of some amazing destinations at a different time of the year and to travel sustainably and reduce the burden on some communities during peak season. Helping to ensure the environment and communities we love to visit remain vibrant and enchanting for generations to come.

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The travel industry now has a responsibility to the iconic locations we all know and love to encourage guests to discover beyond the typical and embrace the unexpected, forging new paths and exploring new experiences. Travel is of course, an incredible gift but in visiting these must-see locations around the world, we also hold a responsibility to the people that call these places home and the world at large.

Here at TTC we’ve chosen to focus on the magic of seasonal travel for many our brands with Trafalgar, Insight Vacations, Uniworld and Contiki all noticing a significant spike in sales, particularly for trips around Christmas time. Seasoned travellers are more and more excited to explore their favourite destinations with fewer crowds, milder temperatures and more opportunities to connect with locals, which after all, is what travelling is all about.

Despite the perks of backyard cricket and beach barbecues, I know my family will be choosing a winter getaway for our trip together this year, choosing to spend the festive break in a storybook locale soaking up majestic snowscapes, vibrantly buzzing Christmas markets and knowing that our choice has allowed us to travel sustainably as well as experiencing a unique and special time together.

 

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What are your thoughts on the topic?