Celluloid vision boosts holidays

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The Independent Online
Tourists are turning to two previously unfashionable countries - thanks to a tunnel and a film. Britain's specialist travel bookshops are reporting strong sales of guidebooks to Belgium and Morocco.

James Daunt, proprietor of the Daunt's Books for Travellers in London believes that Eurostar trains to Brussels have put Belgium on the map, with guide books to Bruges selling particularly well.

Interest in Morocco is harder to explain. "It's somewhere we've been selling in enormous numbers", says Mr Daunt, who believes the film The English Patient may be partly responsible. Even though it is set in Egypt and filmed in Tunisia, the Oscar-winning movie has sparked interest in the whole of North Africa.

Another good indicator of travel intentions is sales of maps at Stanford's, the UK's biggest map and book retailer based in London's Covent Garden. Figures released to The Independent yesterday show that the the strongest sellers are old favourites, Michelin map 446 to southern Spain and the Touring Club Italiano maps of Umbria and Tuscany. Simon Calder

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