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Tourists take Spanish steps;FE Focus

Holidaymakers eagerly signed up for a 40-minute Spanish course at Liverpool Airport's departure lounge after a three-hour delay on the flight to Alicante was announced.

The city's adult education service is offering the course in the belief that the language lessons will kill the boredom of waiting for the flight and will help improve families' holidays.

Tutor Maria-Jose Wooley insisted "this is not a school, this is just fun", as the first volunteers were given some essentials like ordering a beer or coffee at a bar and mastering numbers up to 10 as well as "hola" (hello), "adios" (goodbye), "por favor" (please) and "gracias" (thank you).

Not even the arrival of Concorde could distract them as they played bingo in a corner of the lounge to improve their numeracy and practised ordering a beer - again.

Fred Easton, from Liverpool, said: "It's a nice way to start the holiday and get you in the mood. I thought it was interesting and the method of learning was easy to understand, and informal."

Nicola Kirton, 16, also from Liverpool, thought the class was useful and a different way to start a holiday. "I lived in Spain until I was seven and try to use the language as much as I can when I go back. I'm going to sign up for a Spanish language course next September."

Barbara Blanche, adult learning service project manager, said: "The idea is to get across to people that education is not something that need be outside their normal lives. We hope these sessions will be a hook to get people enrolling for language courses on their return."

Eight sessions have been arranged during April in conjunction with Direct Holidays and Liverpool Airport. The holiday firm includes course details in the information sent out with flight tickets. With 70,000 holidaymakers departing through the airport the potential is huge.

Mrs Blanche said if the Spanish classes are a success the scheme could be extended to other languages and subjects.

She added: "The idea is to give holidaymakers a few phrases that should help make their holidays that much more enjoyable and give them the chance to meet local people. It will obviously be fairly basic information, but we hope it is something all the family will join in with."

Dawn Gordon, airport marketing officer, said: "This is something new and will help passengers fill the two hours before their departure. I think it will be popular because it is a captive audience and it's free."

As well as hopefully giving people the confidence to tackle the language on their arrival she believed it would also help break down barriers between passengers and get them chatting. And for those wary of flying it takes their mind off the impending journey.

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