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Stay-at-home AM's in a minority of one.

Byline: Matt Withers

JUST one South Wales AM has said he is planning to holiday in Wales this year, despite the credit crunch forcing many families to seek a break closer to home.

Of the 10 AMs who responded to a query from the Echo to ask where they were planning to go on holiday this year, only Conservative AM for South Wales Central David Melding said he was staying put for his time off, taking two walking breaks in Mid and West Wales.

Another AM, Labour's Mer-thyr member Huw Lewis, is I not having a I holiday at I all as he has just become a father again. But the other eight who responded are heading outside the nation, with six taking their holidays outside the UK.

Earlier this week it was reported that holidays in Britain were making a comeback as thousands of struggling families shunned their usual expensive breaks abroad this summer.

The credit crunch and the pound's nosedive against the euro are behind Britons' renewed enthusiasm for holidays at home.

Bookings are already up by as much as 63% in some seaside towns, while camp site and holiday park reservations have risen by 10%.

Many South Wales AMs, however, still plan to get away from it all and go abroad. Leighton Andrews, Labour AM for Rhondda, says he is "off to the South of France, by car", while Conservative AM for Cardiff North Jonathan Morgan holidays annually in Menorca.

Liberal Democrat AM for Cardiff Central Jenny Randerson is "walking in south-west Ireland with friends" and Plaid Cymru AM for South Wales Central Leanne Wood is heading to Shieldaig on the west coast of Scotland for two weeks.

Labour AM for Cardiff South and Penarth Lorraine Barrett said she was taking "a short break on the isle of Sark (in the Channel Islands) where there are no cars, just cycles and horses.

"Then most of the holiday will be spent looking after our four-year-old grand-daughter and taking her out on day trips or to the Penarth parks and esplanade."

Two other South Wales AMs are holidaying in England or Scotland.

Labour AM for Caerphilly Jeff Cuth-bert is "walking in the Highlands and islands of Scotland for two weeks", while Plaid Cymru AM for South Wales Central Chris Franks is taking his annual break in Plymouth.

The most active AM in South Wales, however, is Environment Minister Jane Davidson, who is the Labour member for Pontypridd.

She said of her plans: "Four days in Paris by train, up and down the Severn estuary with bikes and climbing Ben Nevis on the bank holiday weekend."

matt.withers@mediawales,co.uk

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CLOSE TO HOME: David Melding AM Image courtesy of Google Earth
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 26, 2008
Words:454
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