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Beautiful beaches in Cyprus are not only easy on the eye but offer the cleanest water in Europe, according to research by the European Environment Agency (EEA). European Commission figures indicate the water quality of every bathing site in Cyprus is 'excellent', significantly higher than the EU average of 78%. The EEA performs annual tests of bacteria levels from sewage and livestock at coastal beaches, rivers and lakes. "From northern fjords to subtropical beaches, Europe is rich in places to cool down in the summer," said EEA executive director Jacqueline McGlade.

Most European destinations are easily accessible from airports in the south of England such as Stanstead, Gatwick and Luton. In Cyprus, there is a noticeable difference in the type of beaches holidaymakers will find around the island.

To the east, Ayia Napa boasts stunning white sandy beaches, in contrast to the darker sand in Larnaca. Rocky coves feature around the Polis area in the north west, while the well-known Aphrodite's Rock to the south is complemented by a shallow shingle beach. There is also a marked difference between the hectic, well-populated town beaches of Limassol and Paphos and the tranquil Lara Beach near Polis. Rocky beaches near Polis offer the best visibility for snorkelling courtesy of crystal clear water.

Copyright © Press Association 2013

The Philippines' dozen international airports are opening up enchanting opportunities for holidaymakers eager to sample the republic's heavenly deserted beaches. It would take you the best part of two decades to visit a different Philippines island every day. Travel experts are tipping the previously low-key resort to become a major beach-holiday destination - and it's never been easier for tourists to access.

There are 12 international airports and more than 20 leading and minor domestic airports serving the country. The Ninoy Aquino International Airport - also known as Manila International Airport - is the main global gateway into the republic and its capital. It is easy to get transfers, with a well-stocked and reliable supply of buses an important mode of public transport. The Philippines is becoming particularly popular among serious diving holidaymakers, who enjoy incredible underwater life, unspoilt coral gardens with rainbow-bright fish, green sea turtles and dugong aquatic mammals.

In Bicol you can swim with the world's biggest fish, the whale shark, or go deep-sea fishing in one of the oceans' deepest trenches, not far from Siargao's hidden island gem. Palawan's archipelago boasts palm-fringed white-powder beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters and natural lagoons for wild swimming on Miniloc Island - all protected by UNESCO. Bacuit Bay is like Vietnam's Halong Bay, but without the tourists. Two new resorts are Ariara Island and El Nido Pangulasian Island, a private-island destination with palm-thatched villas, a spa, its own dive centre, and heart-melting sea views.

Copyright © Press Association 2013

Abu Dhabi is an increasingly opulent and exciting holiday destination - and it's never been easier to get to.

The federal capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) boasts the federation's second busiest airport. Abu Dhabi International Airport is the home of Etihad. A viable alternative - for those visiting the neighbouring millionaires' paradise of Dubai - is to fly to Dubai International Airport and transfer to Abu Dhabi by bus on the Emirates Express. An increasing amount of Brits are booking flights to this bustling, cosmopolitan metropolis.

The number of UK visitors grew 10% year-on-year. In the first four months of 2013, 54,050 Brits stayed in Abu Dhabi's hotels. This means the UK is the emirate's largest overseas tourist market. Overall, the amount of guests staying in Abu Dhabi hotels totalled 868,121 to the end of April - and it's easy to see why. It has over 2,000 well-maintained parks and gardens and over 400 km (248.5 miles) of wondrous coastline, of which 10 km (6.21 miles) are public beaches.

Abu Dhabi also sees many stunning architectural landmarks, not least the skyscrapers that dominate the emirate's skyline. But the jewel in its construction crown is Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. It is the size of five football pitches and large enough to accommodate more than 40,000 worshippers. The 107-metre (351ft high) mosque, which took nearly 12 years to build and cost 2 billion dirhams (£357 million) when it opened in 2007, is thought to be the world's biggest example of marble mosaic.

Copyright © Press Association 2013

Airport passengers are increasingly voting the Seychelles island paradise a tourism favourite… with their feet. The number of holidaymakers visiting the Indian Ocean archipelago jumped by a better-than-expected 15% in the first four months of this year. Seychelles' tourism minister claims this figure could further improve - thanks to increased investment from the Gulf.

The Seychelles now expects 2013 tourist numbers to be 10% higher than last year overall, when it attracted 208,000 visitors. Tourism directly and indirectly represents more than 60% of the national economy, which was worth 1.01 billion dollars in terms of gross domestic product in 2011, according to the World Bank. Minister of Tourism and Culture Alain St Ange told Reuters Europe remains its biggest tourism market. Seychelles is renowned for having some of the planet's finest, pristine and un-crowded beaches.

Some are bracketed by age-old granite boulders. Others offer powder-soft sands, turquoise waters and sublime chances for swimming, snorkelling or pure self-indulgence. The islands transfer you to proud national monuments, beautiful Creole houses, artists' studios, national reserves and marine parks, as well as breathtaking natural wonders above and beneath the waves. Various excursions will acquaint you with the pleasures of glass-bottom boating and watersports. There are guided nature tours where holidaymakers can enjoy the rarest species of flora and fauna. Seychelles also affords mellow nightlife with restaurants, casinos, and bars.

Copyright © Press Association 2013

New Zealand is ready for a surge in visitors who are keen to experience the land of The Hobbit.

The country is investing at least $50 million in tourism promotions linked to the latest film in the mega successful Lord of the Rings franchise. Various special tours are being offered to fans of The Hobbit who want to get closer to the mythical land, which was so memorably represented on the big screen by New Zealand's stunning landscape. And there is more good news for excited passengers who are boarding their airport transfers for a trip of a lifetime – the film sets from The Hobbit have been made permanent for visitors to see in their full glory.

After concluding the first trilogy, director Peter Jackson was happy for the sets to be demolished, not realising the huge interest that would ensue from visitors all around the world. Tourism New Zealand says more than 226,000 people have travelled to the country to see the place where their beloved characters came to life since the Lord of the Rings fever first took hold. And this time around, fans will be pleased to learn Russell Alexander – the owner of the farm that stands in for Hobbiton – has convinced Jackson to contribute money to make the sets permanent. So the country is now really geared up to make it an extra special stay for film fans, who can get hold of a Lord of the Rings Location Guidebook to help them plan their visits to other key locations either on their own or with one of the many tour groups. In Wellington, where Jackson's film studio is based, there are tours on offer that visit between seven and 25 filming locations.

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