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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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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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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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Travel insurance 'a must' for holidays to Spain

Brits taking holidays to Spain must remember to pack their travel insurance policies, as well as their bikinis, it has been claimed.

In a recent report by Myfinances.co.uk, several insurance experts expressed their concern after a poll found that millions of Brits could be putting themselves at risk.

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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 Hotels.com 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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Half of Brits 'long for sunshine breaks'

Almost half of Brits are craving a holiday in the sun, it has been revealed.

A survey carried out by Holiday Extras found that, for 48 per cent of people, a break in the sun is the ideal holiday choice.

Further results found that 31 per cent of people would travel abroad this spring, despite the strength of the euro against the pound, while 13 per cent of people are considering a long-haul getaway.

Commenting on the findings, Mike Whiting, managing editor of Holiday Extras, said: "I'm not surprised that so many people want guaranteed sunshine this spring and while some people will certainly be choosing to holiday closer to home, tourism abroad is still high on the agenda for most.

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Malaga Film Festival begins

Brits taking holidays to Spain may be interested to hear that the annual Malaga Film Festival is now underway.

Now in its 12th year, the event will run until April 25th and will feature 14 films, as well as several documentaries from national and international filmmakers.

Some of the main features competing in the film category include The Forst by Ferran Audi, Trash by Carles Torras and Pagafantas by Borja Corbeaga.

It is also thought that Spanish actor Antonio Banderas will be presenting a lifetime achievement award to fellow actor Juan Diego.

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