- Prices fall up to 21 per cent in two-thirds of European resorts since last spring
- Paphos registers thee biggest fall but Bulgaria’s Sunny Beach is cheapest of 20 resorts surveyed – overtaking the Costas and the Algarve
- Marmaris moves into second spot – after a 31 per cent surge in sterling’s value
- Resort costs are over a third cheaper than 2009 in the Costas and the Algarve
Post Office® Travel Money Holiday Costs Barometer reveals best value summer hotspots (www.postoffice.co.uk/holidaycosts2014)
Holidaymakers can look forward to lower prices in two-thirds of the European resorts surveyed for the eighth annual Post Office Travel Money Holiday Costs Barometer. And it is not just the more powerful pound that will make spending money stretch further this year¹ because local prices have also plunged in half the destinations surveyed by the Post Office².
As a result, UK tourists could pay up to a fifth less than in 2013 in popular destinations. Post Office researchers found the biggest price fall of over 21 per cent in Paphos. 10 tourist staples – lunch and evening meals, drinks, suncream, insect repellent and a daily newspaper – cost £62 in the Cypriot resort, taking it to sixth place in the table from 10th last year.
However, Bulgaria’s Sunny Beach is far and away the best bet for a bargain break. A 16 per cent fall in prices, most notably in the cost of eating out, has enabled Sunny Beach to overtake mainland Spain and the Algarve to claim the barometer top spot³. At £43, Sunny Beach’s basket of 10 tourist staples is over £10 cheaper than its nearest competitor.
Marmaris is this year’s runner-up with a barometer total of £54. Despite a 13 per cent jump in local prices as the summer gets underway, the Turkish resort has moved five places up the top 10 because the resort rises have been offset by a 31 per cent surge in sterling’s value. This has made Marmaris 14 per cent cheaper than in 2013. Another Turkish resort, Bodrum, will cost almost £96 – 76 per cent more - for the same items.
At just below £55, the Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca remain best value in the eurozone with only a few pence separating the two resort areas and Marmaris. Prices in mainland Spain, the most popular destination for UK holidaymakers, are well over a third cheaper than they were five summers ago4. This may explain why over three-in-five of consumers5 surveyed by the Post Office say they will return because they found it good value on a previous trip.
The same is true of the Algarve, where resort prices are 35 per cent lower than in 2009. However, prices are over six per cent higher than a year ago, even allowing for the stronger sterling exchange rate against the euro. At just over £56, this means UK holidaymakers will pay around three per cent more than on the Costa del Sol. Despite this, the cost of a round of drinks, lunch and evening meal is less than in Spain and second cheapest to Sunny Beach.
Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money said: “The strength of sterling is great news for people planning holidays abroad. They can make sure their holiday cash stretches even further by doing their homework before booking to pick a destination where prices have fallen furthest. Resort prices can make or break the holiday budget so choose a destination where healthy competition between restaurants and bars has resulted in cheaper meals and drinks.”
Other resorts in Europe rating as good value are Crete, Istria and Corfu – all three appearing in the top 10 destinations. However, Crete has emerged as 14 per cent cheaper than Corfu at £66 compared with £77, a reversal of previous results for the two Greek Islands. Istria (£72) is 11 per cent cheaper than another Croatian resort Split (£81).
Although the Costas remain a bargain choice, Post Office Travel Money found big variations in the prices charged on the Spanish mainland and its Islands. Ibiza, surveyed for the first time this year, weighs in as the priciest Spanish destination. At £97, the 10 items cost around 77 per cent more than in the Costa del Sol, and over 25 per cent more than in Majorca. Lanzarote, another new destination to the survey, is almost as expensive at £87.
Although prices are up by almost 25 per cent, Majorca is the cheapest Balearic Island. At £77, barometer prices are around three per cent lower than in Menorca (£80), where resort charges have fallen by 21 per cent.
Barometer prices remain uniformly high in Italy where Tuscany (£101) and Sorrento (£102) are the most expensive resorts for the second year running. Despite price falls in both destinations, the overall barometer cost is almost twice as high as in the Costas, Marmaris and the Algarve and 135 per cent more than in Sunny Beach.
Away from Europe, Orlando is still a good value option. A barometer total of £76 helped the theme park favourite to retain its place in the top 10 destinations in ninth place.
Andrew Brown said: “Budget carefully to ensure your holiday pound packs a punch this year. Our research found that the average resort spend is over £500 so it makes sense to take at least that amount with you to avoid running out of cash – especially as there are improved rates for higher value transactions in our branches or online. Allow time to buy foreign currency before leaving home, because changing money at the airport means you are likely to lose out by getting a poor rate.”
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1 Post Office exchange rates for Holiday Costs Barometer destinations, April 2014 compared with April 2013:
% +/- 2014 vs. 2013
2 Holiday Costs Barometer destinations where prices have fallen year-on-year:
Paphos, Cyprus -21.4%
Menorca, Balearic Islands -21.0%
Sorrento, Italy -17.0%
Sunny Beach, Bulgaria -16.2%
Marmaris, Turkey -14.0%
Bodrum, Turkey -13.2%
Istria, Croatia -12.9%
Split, Istria -12.1%
Sliema, Malta -6.7%
Tuscany, Italy -6.5%
Costa del Sol, Spain -2.4%
³ Post Office Holiday Costs Barometer 2014: Prices were supplied by National and Regional Tourist Offices of participating countries, except for Lanzarote and Menorca (Cosmos) and Bulgaria (Balkan Holidays). Online research was conducted to cross-check prices and holiday operator Cosmos also cross-checked data for the Costa del Sol, Costa Blanca, Majorca, Menorca, Bodrum, the Algarve and Orlando. All figures quoted have been rounded up or down to the nearest whole number. Exact prices and a full breakdown of barometer costs can be found in the tables attached.
4 Prices falls since 2009 for top five Holiday Costs Barometer destinations:
Costa del Sol, Spain -39.6%
Algarve, Portugal -34.8%
Costa Blanca, Spain -34.6%
Marmaris, Turkey -21.4%
Sunny Beach, Bulgaria -12.5%
5 Populus omnibus research for Post Office Travel Money (April 2014) among 1,833 adults aged 18 and over who have been on an overseas holiday found that 61 per cent of people would return to mainland Spain and 60 per cent to Portugal because they found it good value on a previous trip there.
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