Women are catching the men up fast when it comes to using the internet to book travel, new statistics reveal.

Research company Neilsen/NetRatings said that women logging on to travel sites now account for 44 per cent of visitors, compared with 36 per cent at the same time last year.

The figures for usage across Europe also show that the most popular travel site for women is ebookers.com, where more than half (51 per cent) of users are women. It is followed by lastminute.co.uk (50.6 per cent) and Virgin Travel (46.2 per cent) among the ten most visited multi-category travel sites.

Yet Expedia remains the biggest site - with the lowest proportion of female users, at 42.4 per cent. Expedia had 4.448 million individual users across Europe last month, ahead of lastminute (3.976 million) and voyages-sncf.com (3.304 million). Within the UK, Expedia is neck-and-neck with lastminute.

Gabrielle Prior, European internet analyst for Neilsen/NetRatings, said: "Women value the speed and convenience of online shopping and it seems this trend extends to researching and booking travel online. We would expect this trend to continue, as we have seen in the US where 49 per cent of users in this category are female."

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