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The Independent Online
First Choice, the UK's third-largest holiday maker, confirmed yesterday that the holiday market was booming as it announced its best ever start to the new season with summer bookings up a quarter compared with last year.

The group also plans to capitalise on the growing popularity of cruises by offering its 1.6 million customers new holidays in the Mediterranean for summer 1999.

The announcement comes a week after rival Airtours announced its bookings were storming ahead of last year.

First Choice's underlying pre-tax profits more than doubled to pounds 22m in the year to October. But the discovery of an accountancy error under the previous management team wiped pounds 8.6m off the bottom line.