Winter sun is the “priority” holiday, survey reveals recently surveyed 15,124 Brits about their travel habits and the results confirm that travel is still very much a priority despite the economic doom and gloom.

Similarly, timeshare owners are taking advantage of their weeks abroad, with ski trips and beach escapes to sun spots like the Canary Islands also in demand this year.

An astonishing 83% of those surveyed by Cheap Flights said they made savings in other areas to protect their travel budget, proving that holidays remain top of the personal priority list even in a downwards economy – or possibly because of the rather bleak outlook at home. And it seems that Britons are a nation of winter sunseekers, for obvious reasons.

This year, the Canary Islands tourist office has been reporting high levels of airport arrivals at its islands’ airports, and travel to Morocco this winter also looks popular, with British favourite Marrakech hovering in the high 20Cs, basking in all day sunshine, while temperatures in the UK dip towards those all too familiar single digits.

It’s not all sun and sand, however, as Swiss timeshare specialists Hapimag recently announced that its Swiss ski resorts are almost fully-booked already for the 2011-2012 ski season as Europe’s ski resorts hope for some good snow this year. There are conflicting predictions about this British winter, as it’s still too early to be certain, although many experts are forecasting lower than average temperatures and a strong possibility of snow again, before Christmas.

Hugo Burge, CEO of Cheapflights Media, said:"Even – or perhaps especially – when times are tough and wallets are being pinched, the preference is to squirrel away funds for a sunny getaway. We all need things to look forward to, and travel, in search of a little sun, family time and R & R is the luxury that has become something of a necessity for us all."

Winter sun is the most popular choice, with 66% voting for winter breaks as their favourite getaways and 57% of those surveyed said they also took more than one holiday this year and 75% said their holiday spend for the year would be £500 or over.

Of the 15,124 respondents who took part in the survey, 58% were female while 41% were male and the majority were aged 41 and over.

Looking at actual destination trends, the choices were split, with the strongest performers coming in as Europe at 25%, USA at 18% and Australasia at 17%. Demand for flights to the Middle East has dropped slightly. Cheap Flights reported that the preferred destinations for winter sun this year are Bangkok, Sydney, Dubai, Orlando and India, with Las Vegas, Manila and Johannesburg also up there.

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