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Rome Is The Top European Choice For UK City Break Travellers

Rome is Europe’s most popular city break destination according to users of online travel agency www.citybreaks-direct.co.uk

The extensive television coverage of the funeral of Pope John Paul II last year is credited as one reason for Rome’s renewed popularity ahead of other city break destinations.

“We have been monitoring the search terms customers use when they visit the site, as well as the actual bookings and Rome is the European city that heads the list.” Says Paul Reeve of Citybreaks-Direct.

Billions of TV viewers worldwide watched as over 2 million mourners visited Rome to pay their respects to the late pontiff. The emotional scenes set against the unforgettable backdrop of Rome and Vatican City clearly struck a chord with viewers at home.

Paul explains: “We are aware that different cities are favoured at different times of the year and have taken this into account when assessing the figures. For example, Prague is popular throughout autumn and winter as well as the summer months, whereas, understandably, people prefer to visit cities in Mediterranean countries during the warmer months of the year.”

Bookings and searches for Parisian city breaks are also well up on last year. Citybreaks-Direct believe this is partly due to the hype surrounding the film version of ‘The Da Vinci Code’ which is set in the city. Also, there has been cumulative word-of-mouth interest in the French capital generated by readers of Dan Brown’s bestseller since the book was published.

The second book in the series, ‘Angels and Daemons’ is set in Rome and like ‘The Da Vinci Code’ prominently features real life settings, such St Peter’s Basilica and many churches around Rome and significantly the plot of ‘Angels and Daemons’ hinges on the death of a fictional pope.

Demand for Roman holidays is higher than for Amsterdam, Dublin and Prague – previously the top choices. Venice was the most popular Italian city for Citybreaks-direct customers in 2005.

This upsurge of interest is welcome news for the Italian capital. Over eight million Euros was spent by the Roman authorities to enable the city to cope with the unexpected extra visitors and concern was raised that the city had been left “in the red”.

Rome has long been a popular destination for UK travellers. From “The Grand Tourists” in the 18th Century, famously including Lord Byron, through to travellers inspired by the romance in Audrey Hepburn’s “Roman Holiday” and “Three Coins In A Fountain”.

This report is based on an analysis of web searches and bookings for European city flight and hotel deals on http://www.citybreaks-direct.co.uk, an online travel agency.

Citybreaks-Direct is a member of the Co-operative Travel Trading Group.



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