- UK tourists get almost £52 more cash than last year on a £500 exchange into European currencies – but up to £39 less further afield
- Resort prices have slumped by up to 50 per cent in Europe compared with 2009 when sterling hit an all-time low against the euro
- But meal and drink costs have spiraled by 38 per cent in Thailand
As sterling hit another high against the euro, Post Office® Travel Money reports that sales of the single currency are booming. An increase of more than 220 per cent year-on-year in euro purchases online over the past weekend alone confirms that holiday bargain hunters are cashing in on the great value available in European resorts, thanks to the powerful pound.
However, while Holiday Money Report research reveals that UK holidaymakers changing £500 into euro will get €67.50 - or £52 - more travel cash than a year ago, Post Office Travel Money warns that tourists travelling further afield may find themselves strapped for cash. Falling rates for long haul currencies mean that people changing pounds into travel money for the USA, Caribbean, Dubai and Thailand will receive up to £39 less¹.
Furthermore, a Holiday Money Report evaluation of resort costs for tourist items2 now compared with January 2009, when sterling dipped below parity with the euro, reveals falls of 48 per cent in Spain and 50 per cent in Portugal. Conversely, resort prices in Thailand are 38 per cent higher than when sterling hit its 2009 low point and visitors to Dubai can expect to pay 80 per cent more.
Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money said: “There is no doubt that UK tourists can look forward to getting more travel cash for their pounds this year in Europe but people planning trips further afield could get caught out by falling rates for sterling in some countries. The best way to avoid this is to consider a holiday swap to a resort where the pound still stretches further and check to see how prices for meals and drinks compare in a range of destinations.”
Top of the Post Office’s long haul holiday swap suggestions is Cancun in Mexico.
Sterling is four per cent stronger than last year and worth 10 per cent more than
in 2013. At £59, barometer prices are down 40 per cent compared with 2009 (£99) when Cancun first became a mainstream resort for UK families. By contrast, tourists picking the Dominican Republic will have almost three per cent fewer pesos to play with and pay 20 per cent more (£71) for the same items.
In the Caribbean Jamaica looks a better choice for bargain hunters than Barbados because sterling remains as strong as a year ago and resort costs are 28 per cent cheaper in Montego Bay (£72) than in St James (£100). Sterling is worth nearly seven per cent less against the Barbados dollar than a year ago.
Prices are up across the USA because of the sterling slump but tourists will find them cheapest in Orlando (£58). Although families visiting the theme park capital will have almost £37 less in dollars to spend on a £500 currency exchange, the cost of meals, drinks and other tourist staples is only three per cent higher than a year ago. What is more, prices for the Post Office barometer basket have dropped 16 per cent since 2009.
Sterling has also fallen in value against Far Eastern currencies – most notably by over seven per cent against the Thai baht. This has contributed to a 10 per cent rise year-on-year in resort costs in Phuket to £51 – 38 per cent higher than in 2009 (£37). By contrast, prices may have risen 29 per cent in Bali (£36) since last year but they are over 30 per cent cheaper than in Thailand.
Sun seekers planning trips to the Gulf will find Egypt a cheaper option than Dubai. Resort prices in Sharm el Sheikh (£64) are less than half those in Jumeirah Beach (£135) and sterling is up by more than two per cent against the Egyptian pound but worth almost seven per cent less against the UAE dirham.
Closer to home, prices have plummeted 11 per cent since last year in Cyprus. The island may be cooler than the Red Sea – 65˚F/18˚C compared with 73˚F/23˚in February - but Post Office barometer prices (£40) are 39 per cent lower in Paphos than in Sharm. Tourist costs have also tumbled by 43 per cent since 2009, making Cyprus one of the best value options for a European holiday.
Holidaymakers booking ahead for a European beach holiday will find Portugal best value and 20 per cent cheaper than Turkey (£41), where sterling is slightly weaker than a year ago. By contrast the UK pound will stretch almost 12 per cent further in the Algarve, making this Europe’s cheapest beach resort at less than £33 for tourist staples. Prices are 50 per cent lower than in 2009 (£65) when sterling fell to its low against the euro.
The six year fall in Spain has been almost as marked. Prices in the Costa del Sol were £65 in 2009 but have dropped 48 per cent to under £34 now.
Greece also look a good bet for bargain hunters – where Crete is tipped as a good holiday swap. The combined effect of the sterling surge and lower resort prices will make it 26 per cent cheaper (£37) for UK visitors this year. However, prices vary across Greece and visitors to Corfu (£48) can expect to pay 29 per cent more for the same items than in Crete.
Elsewhere in Europe holidaymakers can expect cheaper prices in Eastern European cities and across Scandinavia, whose currencies have registered some of the biggest falls against sterling.
Up to 70 currencies can be pre-ordered at over 11,500 Post Office branches or online at postoffice.co.uk for next day branch or home delivery. 30 currencies are available on demand at 1,600 larger Post Office branches, while 10,000 offer euros and 4,000+ branches offer US dollars and Turkish lira over the counter.
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