Sales of annual travel insurance have outstripped single trip policies by around 70% over the past three years, finds direct travel insurer Club Direct.

Demand for annual cover has been boosted by rising personal incomes and families taking more trips abroad.

Figures from the Foreign Office show the number of overseas visits by British tourists increased by 5% in the 12 months to February 2000, to reach a record 53.6 million.

Brent Escott, Club Direct spokesman, said: "We have seen a massive leap in the number of annual travel policies sold – growth has been 70% higher than that of single trip policies in the past three years.

One of the attractions of annual travel polices is they tend to cheaper than single trip insurance.