VISITORS to Italy are starting to head for the Riviera as Tuscany becomes more popular than ever, according to the Magic of Italy.
The Thomson-owned operator, launching its preview Italian brochure, claimed traditional Tuscan holidaymakers are venturing elsewhere to get away from the crowds.
"We are seeing increasing demand for areas such as Puglia in southern Italy and Liguria which is along the coast from Nice," said marketing director Helen Baker.
"For some visitors, Tuscany may be getting a little too busy."
Exploring holiday tours to Puglia and Umbria now have prices which are based on three or seven-night packages rather than nightly prices plus flights.
Baker said, however, that Tuscany continues to be the growth area with the operator adding three villas with pools - Casa Del Forno, Alba and Podere la Castellina - and self-catering apartments.
"But capacity is tight and it is getting tougher," she added.
The year-round brochure, which runs from September 1999 to October 2000 and contains 90% of the operator's Italian product, also includes an expanded Venice Simplon-Orient-Express programme with two free nights in Venice on selected dates.
Growth of around 25% is being targeted for 2000 although Baker declined to reveal actual passenger numbers.
Prices lead in at £325 per person based on five people sharing a two-bedroom unit including flights and car hire.
Two weeks for the price of one is available on selected properties.
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