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Last-minute bookings 'on the increase'

Those thinking about booking holidays to Spain may be leaving it until the last minute in order to secure good deals, it has been claimed.

Figures compiled by Visa showed there was no significant rise in holiday bookings during January and February – which is usually the case – and suggested that this could be down to people exercising more caution than in previous years.

Fiona Wilkinson, senior vice-president at Visa Europe, also speculated that there could be concern over the weak pound.

"Holidaymakers could be either waiting until the last minute and hoping to find cheap deals, or are willing to stay at home this year instead," she added.

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Chancellor urged to 'rethink flight tax'

Chancellor Alistair Darling is being urged to rethink his plans to increase air passenger duty (APD) on the eve of the 2009 Budget.

British Airways chief Willie Walsh has criticised the government's plans, saying that the cost of flights could rise significantly for families, particularly for those taking long-haul breaks.

A rise in flight tax will have a negative impact on the economy and will mean that the UK is at a competitive disadvantage with other countries, the airline said.

Speaking at a City of London conference, Mr Walsh noted that APD was doubled in the UK just two years ago and said authorities seemed intent on piling "more misery" on passengers.

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Enjoy 'Starbucks on a flight to Spain'

Brits taking flights to Spain with easyJet will soon be able to enjoy a cup of Starbucks coffee while onboard.

From May 1st, passengers travelling from airports including Gatwick, Newcastle and Stansted will have the opportunity to purchase Starbucks VIA Ready Brew on their flights.

Rob Pickering, easyJet's in-flight content manager, said the introduction of the coffee is a significant step for the airline's product range.

"It coincides at the exciting time when our fresh food range has been transformed to suit local country markets.

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Indian cricket legend to coach at La Manga Club

Those hoping to improve their cricket skills on holiday in Spain may be interested to learn that Indian cricket ace Farokh Engineer will be taking his talents to La Manga Club.

The legendary wicketkeeper and batsman will be at the resort from April 25th to 27th, where he will be running several coaching sessions.

Engineer, who is now an umpire in the Indian Premier League, has had a cricket career spanning 15 years and played in 46 test matches for his country.

Coaching sessions must be booked in advance and all proceeds will be donated to a charity supporting homeless children in Mumbai.

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Holidays in Spain 'still popular'

European destinations that are close to home are still proving popular with British holidaymakers, it has been claimed.

According to travel site Expedia, the strength of the euro has not deterred people from taking holidays in Spain and city breaks elsewhere on the continent.

Jonathan Cudworth, head of product marketing at the site, said recent data indicated that seven out of ten most popular destinations are less than three hours away from the UK by plane.

"If properly researched and booked using the correct tools, savvy travellers are still able to find great value accommodation, activities and places to eat, whatever their budget," he added.

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Easter exodus 'proves holiday demand'

The demand for foreign holidays this Easter has proved that Brits are still keen to travel, despite the credit crunch, it has been claimed.

According to a recent report in the Independent, more than two million people jetted off on flights to Spain and other destinations over the Easter weekend, representing a significant increase on last year.

Manny Fontenla-Nova, chief executive of Thomas Cook, said that people are beginning to appreciate the value offered by package breaks.

"Many of our customers now are feeling better about life in terms of disposable income," he added.

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European hotels 'still good value'

European hotels still offer good value for British holidaymakers, despite the euro having strengthened against the pound.

Figures from accommodation provider show that the average London hotel comes in at £111 per night, compared to Lisbon, where the average is £89.

Nigel Pocklington, managing director of the site, said that with a little research, people can still find some excellent deals.

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Brits 'fight for holidays'

Over half of Brits (60 per cent) plan to use their full holiday entitlement this year, despite increased pressures at work, it has been revealed.

Research carried out by Expedia found that 45 per cent of people feel relaxed and rejuvenated after a holiday abroad, while 29 per cent believe it improves their productivity.

However, despite the benefits that holidays to Spain and other destinations can bring, one in five people have cancelled a break in the past on account of work commitments.

Jonathan Cudworth, head of product marketing at Expedia, said that it has never been more important for people to take time out and recharge their batteries.

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Spain is 'most popular destination' for Brits

Official figures have revealed that Spain is still the most popular destination for British holidaymakers.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), holidays in Spain accounted for 27 per cent of overseas breaks in 2007, with over 12 million visits to destinations such as Alicante and Murcia.

ONS figures also show that Brits are taking more holidays abroad than ever and that trips overseas have risen by 56 per cent in the last decade.

"The volume of expenditure by UK tourists abroad has also risen over the years.

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Head to Alicante for May bank holiday

The Easter bank holiday weekend may have just passed but no doubt millions of Brits are already making plans for the next one.

Those looking to get away at the start of May should consider a holiday in Spain.

According to budget airline bmibaby, there are plenty of events taking place in Malaga and Alicante, including the May Crosses.

"The cobbled streets, balconies and town squares are adorned with huge flower decorations in the shape of crosses.

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