Travel: Departures

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The Independent Travel
Disney's bullish birthday

THIS WEEK Euro Disney held a series of upbeat press conferences to present a rosy picture of its first year of operation. Publicity since its opening on 12 April last year has been largely negative, focusing on financial losses and the decision of operators such as Airtours to drop the theme park from its programme through lack of interest. However, Euro Disney says that by its first birthday it will have attracted nearly 11 million visitors - in line with its original expectations.

In fact, the total has been boosted during the winter by offering Paris residents a 30 per cent discount on normal admission rates. And visitors' spending in the park has been lower than expected. The high price of Euro Disney food has been a frequent criticism.

The company has revealed measures to attract more visitors this year and increase spending in the park. These include seasonal pricing and a new lower charge for admission after 5pm every day. To help reduce queues for the rides, it also plans to open six new attractions by early July, including two new rides.

Medina out of action

THE package-holiday industry's troubles continue: it emerged last week that Greek specialist Medina Holidays of London had ceased trading. It had been licensed to carry up to 15,429 passengers.

Love to Le Touquet

LOVE AIR (0279 681434) has begun the first scheduled service from Biggin Hill, operating nine times a week to Le Touquet. Fares for the 30- minute trip are pounds 62.50 single, pounds 89 for an Apex return and pounds 125 for a full open return. The nearest railway station is Bromley South, 16 minutes by train from London Victoria. Love Air will continue to operate its thrice-weekly Le Touquet service from Lydd which costs from pounds 79 return. It is also offering flight-inclusive packages to Le Touquet: a two- night break to Le Manoir, for example, costs pounds 201.

Cheaper coaches

EUROLINES (071-730 0202) has cut fares on its daytime coach services from London Victoria to Paris, Amsterdam and Antwerp. A youth return is down from pounds 49 to pounds 38, an adult return from pounds 53 to pounds 48 for Amsterdam and Antwerp, pounds 55 to pounds 48 for Paris. Eurolines has increased the frequency of services to Paris and Amsterdam and is expanding operations to Poland, Hungary and Vienna.

Bali by bike

A 17-DAY cycling tour of the Indonesian islands of Bali and Lombok is being offered by specialist Anglo- Dutch Sports (081-650 2347). The holiday departs on 7 or 21 September and costs pounds 600 excluding flights. The price covers transfers, bed-and- breakfast hotel accommodation, luggage transport and a back-up minibus service.

Opera holidays

A SEVEN-NIGHT holiday which includes the chance to see Placido Domingo in Cavalleria Rusticana at Verona Arena is being offered by Page & Moy (0533 524444). Departing on 30 June, the holiday costs pounds 635 including half-board accommodation at the Hotel Europa in Riva del Garda, and a ticket to see performances of I Paglicacci and Carmen as well as Domingo.

Tickets for major opera events in Italy are available from Liaisons Abroad, Nightingale House, 1-7 Fulham High Street, London SW6 3JH (071-384 1122).

Britain by bus

A ROUND-BRITAIN budget bus service for backpackers has been launched by a company called Slow Coach (0249 891959). The service costs pounds 69 for a full circuit and stops at youth hostels four times a week in the following places: London (Earls Court), Windsor, Bath, Stratford- upon-Avon, Lake District (Ambleside), Edinburgh, York and Cambridge. A full circuit takes three days.

Middle East offer

BRIDGE the World Travel Centre (071-911 0900) is offering a 'grand tour' fare of the Middle East with Turkish Airlines for pounds 285. The route allowed includes London to Istanbul, Cairo, overland to Tel Aviv, and Istanbul to London. The fare is available for departures until 31 October.

Travel bookshelf

Best-selling travel books with Easter break ideas

1. Prague City Guide (Cadogan, pounds 9.99) by Sadakat Kadri

2. National Tourist Boards UK Activity Holidays '93 (Letts, pounds 4.50)

3. The Good Weekend Guide: 10,000 things to do in Great Britain (Vermilion, pounds 11.99)

4. Slow Walks in Amsterdam (Hodder & Stoughton, pounds 8.95) by Michael Leitch

5. Rough Guide to Barcelona & Catalunya (Penguin, pounds 7.99) by Jules Brown

6. The Pernod Guide to Long Weekends in France (Penguin, pounds 5.99) by Andrew Sanger

7. Florence: A Literary Companion (John Murray, pounds 11.95) by Florence King

8. Charming Small Hotel Guides: Austria (Duncan Petersen, pounds 7.95)

9. Pub Walks in the Cotswolds (Sigma Leisure, pounds 6.95) by Laurence Main

10. Summits for all: The French Alps, 100 Easy Mountains for Walkers (Cordee, pounds 9.95)

Information supplied by The Travellers' Bookshop, 25 Cecil Court, London WC2N 4EZ (071-836 9132)

Last-minute flights

Avro (061-489 2989): 10 April Manchester to Malaga, 14 nights, pounds 129; 10 April Gatwick to Malta, seven nights, pounds 125; 12 April Gatwick to Arrecife, three/seven nights, pounds 155; 12 April Manchester to Las Palmas, seven nights, pounds 139; 12 April Gatwick to Palma, four/seven nights, pounds 119.

Inspirations (0293 822244): 10 April Gatwick to Las Palmas, seven nights, pounds 159; 10 April Newcastle to Tangier, seven nights, pounds 199; 16 April Glasgow to Tangier, seven nights, pounds 149; 17 April Manchester to Rhodes, seven nights, pounds 159.

Unijet (0444 458181): 8 April Stansted to Malaga, seven nights, pounds 119; 9 April Gatwick to Malaga, 14 nights, pounds 139; 10 April Gatwick to Faro, 14 nights, pounds 109.

Late packages

Branta Holidays (071-635 5812): 14 April Harwich to Gothenburg, six- day birdwatching holiday: 'The lakes, forests and dancing cranes of Lake Hornborga', pounds 395.

Cadogan Travel (0703 332661): 12 April Gatwick to Tunisia, seven nights half-board, pounds 392.

Cosmos (061-480 5799): 8 April Manchester to Orlando, 14 nights room-only Days Inn, pounds 419; 10 April Gatwick to Malta, 14 nights self-catering, pounds 189; 11 April Luton to the Algarve, 14 nights self-catering, pounds 220.