Virgin sees new trend in Californian holidays

Virgin sees new trend in Californian holidays

BRITONS travelling to California are at last beginning to realise there is more to the state than just Disney and Hollywood, according to Virgin Holidays.

The US specialist is seeing more UK visitors head to Lake Tahoe and Mammoth Mountainas they seek out the more scenic parts of California.

Speaking at the launch of Virgin Holidays' new-look dedicated California brochure, managing director Ron Simms said: "There is a definite trend to explore further into the state.

"A lot of people are taking two-centre holidays and combining San Francisco with Lake Tahoe."

The operator has added the five-star Regency in the region for 2000.

Ranches are also growing in popularity as holidaymakers look for a taste of the Wild West.

Two have been added - Stonepine Estate Resort and Wickenburg Inn and Dude Ranch - which offer more luxury than the traditional Spanish Springs Guest Ranch which is alsofeatured.

"The difference is that at Spanish Springs you'll find horse manure while at Wickenburg you won't. They clean it all up," said Simms.

Las Vegas continues to be the best seller in the programme, with two hotels new for 2000 taking the total to 15, while the Big Island has been added in Hawaii.

Prices in the programme have risen by about 3% with a lead-in of £389 for a week's flydrive.

Virgin is targeting growth of 5%-10% on its 1998/99 carryings of 50,000.

Simms said the gold front cover should help give the brochure a fresh look year round.

"Traditional brochures tend to look tatty after a while," he said.

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