Post Office reveals what the value of sterling means for holidaymakers
- Sterling now stronger year-on-year against 80 per cent of holiday currencies
- Biggest gains of up to 16.7 per cent against long haul currencies
- ‘Dollar destinations’ – USA, Caribbean and Middle Eastern resorts – are 11.5-12 per cent weaker against sterling and down five per cent in the past three months
- Position is patchier in Europe – but Turkish lira is down 16.5 per cent, while Russian, Swiss and Scandinavian currencies are weaker against sterling too
Even though sterling has dipped in the wake of last week’s stock market falls, its gains over the past three months mean UK holidaymakers can at last look forward to seeing their cash stretch further on trips abroad. 80 per cent of the top 40 holiday currencies have fallen in value against the pound compared with a year ago – over half of these by more than 10 per cent¹. However, the latest exchange rate comparison by Post Office Travel Money shows that people prepared to travel further will reap the biggest benefits from sterling’s surge.
The biggest cash bonus will be for UK tourists visiting Caribbean all-inclusive family favourite, the Dominican Republic, whose peso has plunged 16.7 per cent year-on-year against the pound. This will give them almost £72 extra peso on a £500 currency transaction. In Costa Rica the colon has fallen almost as much – 16.6 per cent since last February (+£71). Post Office Travel Money said that its sales of the Costa Rican currency have risen 239 per cent in the past five years as a result of the direct flights now available from the UK, while Dominican peso purchases have grown 121 per cent in the same period.
Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money, which accounts for one-in-four UK currency transactions, said: “The huge growth in sales for these currencies provides clear evidence that growing numbers of holidaymakers are choosing destinations where they will get more for the pound – especially where the cost of living is also low.
“Every long haul currency in our top 40 – except for the Malaysian ringgit - has fallen against sterling since last February and, with savvy travellers watching exchange rates carefully, there is good reason to believe that more of them will consider holidaying further afield this year - especially as low cost airlines are closing the gap with Europe by offering cheap airfares to the USA and Far East too.”
Things are looking up for tourists travelling to the USA and countries whose currencies are pegged to the US dollar. Holidaymakers visiting ‘dollar destinations’ like St Lucia, Antigua, Barbados, Dubai and Oman as well as the USA can expect their pounds to stretch between 11.5 per cent (Barbados) and 12 per cent (St Lucia and Antigua) further than a year ago after a sterling surge of five per cent over the past three months. This will give them up to £53 more cash to spend than a year ago when they change £500 into foreign currency.
The same cash bonanza applies for holidaymakers or friends and family visiting relatives ‘down under’ in the coming months. The pound is up 10 per cent year-on-year against the New Zealand dollar (£46 on a £500 exchange) and nine per cent (+£41) against the Australian dollar. This is a 23 per cent rise over the past five years and good news for those planning trips to Western Australia on the first direct flights from the UK from next month.
The position is patchier in Europe. Travellers to eurozone destinations will have almost £20 fewer in euros on a £500 currency transaction than a year ago and they will also have to pay more for meals, drinks and other staples than in 2017 in popular eurozone destinations. The Post Office’s latest Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer found that prices have risen by 30 per cent in Portugal’s Algarve and 39 per cent in Spain’s Costa del Sol.
However, the Turkish lira has halved in value against sterling in the past five years and is 16.5 per cent weaker than last February. Prices in its leading resort, Marmaris, are low too and cheaper than the Costa del Sol, according to the Post Office barometer of meals and drinks.
Elsewhere in Europe the Russian ruble is 10.7 per cent weaker than a year ago, which is good news for football fans planning trips during the World Cup this summer. Skiers will have 4.1 per cent more Swiss francs to spend if planning trips to Switzerland’s ski resorts and Scandinavia will be cheaper too. Sterling has risen 5.5 per cent against the Norwegian krone, 2.4 per cent against the Icelandic krona and 0.9 per cent against the Swedish krona.
The Post Office is the UK’s leading provider of foreign currency, offering euro on demand at over 10,000 branches and US dollars at 4,000 branches. These can also be ordered online at postoffice.co.uk for same day ‘click and collect’ at almost 3,000 branches as well as next day collection at any branch or for home delivery. 1,600 larger Post Office Branches stock 30 leading currencies while up to 80 currencies can be pre-ordered at over 11,500 branches or online at postoffice.co.uk/travel for next day branch or home delivery.
For more information, please contact:
Christine Ball CBPR 01798 874177 / 07976 285997 firstname.lastname@example.org
Joanne Leahy Post Office Press Office 07791 894469
Notes to Editors:
¹ Post Office Travel Money comparisons of exchange rates in February 2018 compared with February 2017:
|Currency||% +/- 2018 vs. 2017||February 2018||February 2017||£500 buys +/- 2018 vs. 2017|
|Currencies whose exchange rates have weakened against sterling|
|Costa Rican colon||-16.6%||702.5474||602.3837||+£71.29|
|Hong Kong dollar||-12.4%||10.1760||9.0557||+£55.05|
|East Caribbean dollar||-12.0%||3.4705||3.1000||+£53.38|
|Peru nuevo sol||-11.6%||4.1243||3.6942||+£52.14|
|New Zealand dollar||-10.1%||1.8288||1.6610||+£45.88|
|South African rand||-1.6%||15.797||15.5429||+£8.04|
|Currencies whose exchange rates have strengthened against sterling|
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