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Spanish Christmas traditions

It has been reported that a struggle between traditional Spanish customs and more contemporary celebrations is taking place this Christmas.

Traditionally, Earthtimes reports, Spaniards exchange gifts on January 6th following processions celebrating the Three Kings - white-bearded Melchor, red-haired Gaspar and black Baltasar.

The online newspaper claims that the notion of Father Christmas - or Papa Noel - was first popularised in the country during the 1950s courtesy of US soldiers stationed in Spain.

"The kings are an example of multi-racialism, while Father Christmas is a product of consumerism," the publication reported one person as saying.

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Rise in Spanish tourist numbers reported

Spanish holidays look to be more popular than ever, after it was reported that tourist numbers were up for the country in November.

AFX News reports that according to Thomson Financial, the number of tourists arriving in Spain increased by five per cent last month compared to the same period in 2006.

The figures, from the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, showed that numbers reached 3.3 million.

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Seasonal spirit hits Spain

As the build up to Christmas day gathers pace, holidaymakers spending Christmas in Spain can look forward to a longer period of festivities, it is reported.

Sur in English notes that in Spain, the Christmas season lasts longer than the English period - with children in Spain receiving presents on the evening of January 5th.

Coming up in the Costa de la Luz, the newspaper for southern Spain reports that a series of Christmas concerts will be taking place.

Those enjoying Spanish holidays in the region this month can look forward to an "Extraordinary Christmas Concert" in Cadiz at the Gran Teatro Falla on December 22nd, while on December 28th, a Christmas concert with the Camerata Manuel de Falla will be held at the Moderno Theatre in Chiclana.

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Alicante 'will attract majority of winter sunshine travellers'

Flights to Alicante look set to be in high demand this December as Brits head to East Midlands Airport in their droves.

According to the airport, December 21st will be its busiest day this month as more than 8,800 passengers look to travel abroad for warmer Christmas weather.

On Christmas day the airline is even running a number of departures and arrivals to the Spanish city of Alicante,

"Christmas and New Year has always been a popular time of the year to escape the cold winter weather and see friends and family. The winter flight programme is full of great winter sun destinations," commented airport managing director Penny Coates.

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Airport 'gears up for Christmas rush'

Manchester Airport has reported that it is preparing for what it claims will be a "Christmas rush".

According to the airport, a number of travellers will be setting off on journeys to warmer climes.

Flights to Alicante and flights to Malaga are reported to be the second and third most popular routes from Manchester over the Christmas period.

In total, over 500,000 passengers will be travelling through the airport between December 21st 2007 and January 1st 2008.

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3.5m Brits head on holiday

A record number of Britons will be heading on holiday this December, it has been reported.

According to the Association of British Travel Agents (Abta), 3.5 million UK residents will be packing their bags and heading on Spanish holidays and breaks to other countries over the Yuletide period.

The busiest day in terms of travel is predicted to be Saturday December 22nd with December 30th close behind as holidaymakers travel abroad in time for New Year's Eve.

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Internet has 'opened new doors in travel'

The internet has been good for travel agents and has opened new doors in the field, it has been reported.

According to a spokesperson for the Association of British Travel Agents (Abta), the internet allows travel agents to create bespoke holidays, the benefits of which can be passed on to the customer.

The news comes after Abta predicted that Spain would be the number one spot for holidays over the Christmas period.

Abta represents in excess of 6,000 travel agencies as well as 850 tour operators in the UK.

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Spain is 'popular destination for school holiday periods'

Spain remains a popular holiday destination for families with children on school breaks, it has been reported.

According to 2008 holiday travel predictions from Holiday Lettings, the school holiday weeks will be the periods most in demand from travellers next year.

Moreover, holidaymakers are comfortable travelling to Spain and have been for a number of years, it has been argued.

"The last ten years in Spain [is an example] of [a] destination where visitors are comfortable travelling to, are well provided for as tourists [and] where they can source affordable flights to," commented Ross Elder, managing director of Holiday Lettings.

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Spanish holidays 'still popular'

Holidays to Europe including Spanish holidays are still popular among tourists, despite the increase in global holiday travel, it has been reported.

According to a World Travel Trends report, January to August 2007 saw a four per cent growth in international tourist arrivals in Europe, eTravel blackboard notes.

This figure exceeded the World Tourism Organisation's predictions of a three per cent increase.

"All things considered, we are forecasting another year of growth in the region of three to four per cent for the European outbound travel market," commented Rolf Freitag, president and founder of the World and European Travel Monitors.

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Foreigners account for Antequera population growth

A growth in the foreign population of the Spanish region of Antequera has been reported.

According to Sur in English, the region's registered foreign population has risen by over 2,000 in the last six years.

The newspaper for southern Spain also reports that British expats make up the second largest group in this community with 247 residents originating from the UK.

Sur reports that inland areas of Malaga are becoming more attractive to foreigners with 740 Brazilians reported to be living in Antequera.

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