Travel Punta del Este

Q. I'm keen to visit Punta del Este and/or Montevideo in Uruguay, ideally as a package holiday. But I can't find any operators that do it. And even if I could, would booking individual flights and accommodation be a better strategy? It seems amazing that BA still don't fly direct! Russ Williams, London

Leading article: Travel firms go bust, but the public needs protection

In just about every economic downturn, a large travel company seems to go bust. In 1974 it was Court Line, the business that pioneered "cheap and cheerful" package holidays to Spain. In the early 1990s, International Leisure Group, which at the time enjoyed a 20 per cent market share of the holiday industry, went to the wall. Yesterday it was XL, the UK's third biggest package holiday group, which called in the receivers.

Jeremy Warner's Outlook: With travel companies, it's survival of fittest

Willie Walsh, chief executive of British Airways, expects a further 30 airlines to go bust by the end of the year, a similar number having already gone down in flames in the year to date.

Joe Lean and the Jing Jang Jong, The Freebutt, Brighton

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Local: Morecambe, Lancashire

In the 1850s, the cabinet-maker and temperance worker Thomas Cook began organising "grand circular tours" of Europe that were arguably the first package holidays. The concept of fun in the sun – at an affordable price – caught on and by the 1970s we were abandoning British seaside resorts in favour of sunnier stretches of sand. In 2006, over 16 million people holidayed in Spain each year.

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No one could deny that life at Hurst Lodge, an independent school in the heart of the Berkshire countryside, is poles apart from the world inhabited by bands like Primal Scream and Napalm Death.

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Holiday reps sent packing as travellers go it alone

LOW-COST airlines, internet deals and a boom in independent wanderlust have turned the old-fashioned travel rep into an endangered species. Once a vital part of any package holiday, the traditional travel reps, ready to deal with local emergencies and partying with guests into the early hours, may have outstayed their welcome.

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