VIRGIN Sun has secured exclusive five-year contracts for nearly 140 self-catering apartments in the Mediterranean for summer 2000 to help combat problems finding decent self-catering accommodation.
The operator has secured 77 four-star apartments in the Algarve and 60 three-star apartments in Minorca, both of which are due for completion in early spring.
Speaking at the launch of its second-edition brochure, Virgin Sun director Ian Brooks, said: "Just because people want to go on a self-catering holiday does not mean they want downmarket accommodation," he said.
"This will get round the issue of having something big enough of good enough quality. It also gives you control of your product and enables you to tailor it to the needs of your customers."
Brooks added that some further greenfield apartments may follow, although new laws have restricted developments over a certain size.
Both new properties are illustrated with artist's impressions in the new brochure.
In the new programme, Crawley-based Virgin has responded to customer demand and expanded its range of kids' clubs.
A new Club Scene for 12 to 16-year-olds has been introduced in Minorca and Portugal with creches for under threes - called Virgin Babes - available in the same destinations. The non-family market has been catered for with properties in Minorca and Corfu designated child-free zones.
Capacity for 2000 has been increased by 60%, taking passenger numbers to around 210,000, with Kos a new destination.
Two more aircraft have been added to the fleet, taking the number to four. Regional flights have now been extended to East Midlands, which will serve Crete and Rhodes and Newcastle which will operate to Corfu. Prices lead in at £149 for seven nights in Ibiza.
Brooks said agents have responded well to Virgin Sun's inaugural season but was looking for improvement in 2000.
"Agents associate Virgin with the US and I want them to start associating us with short-haul," he said.
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