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Holidaymakers rush to beat tax rises

Travel companies have reported a surge in late bookings as holidaymakers try to beat tax increases.

The Co-operative Travel claimed that bookings for top destinations during September and October were up 39% over the same period last year.

It put the unexpected rise down to the impending hikes in air passenger duty and VAT, which take effect on November 1 and January 4 respectively.

Cost conscious holidaymakers are also being attracted, by some of the lowest prices the sector has ever seen, said a spokesman for The Co-operative Travel, adding that prices are up to 59% below average for the season.

The biggest increases are being seen for Morocco, up 39%, followed by the Canary Islands (up 26%) and Tunisia (up 21%).

Director of retail distribution at The Co-operative Travel Trevor Davis said: "The next few weeks are going to offer the best value for holidaymakers looking to make their budget go further.

"Not only are there great deals available, due to excess stock at the end of a difficult season, but also they will save up to 60 per person by taking a holiday before November 1 when the increase in APD comes into effect.

"We're seeing evidence that savvy consumers are switching their holiday plans to this autumn as they seek to get best value for money, with the October half term expected to see bookings reach their peak." Report by Lynsey McNeill Travel Mole website.

Published: 4.10.2010