- Big price falls help Tokyo leapfrog Cape Town to rate as best value in the Long Haul Holiday Report for the first time (www.postoffice.co.uk/longhaul)
- Prices for meals, drinks and other tourist staples are down year-on-year in 40 per cent of destinations surveyed
- Biggest falls recorded in top Caribbean Islands: Antigua, St Lucia and Jamaica
- Vietnam and Costa Rica, Post Office 2017 hotlist choices, hit best value top 10
Japan’s capital Tokyo has eclipsed all its competitors to emerge as the cheapest of 30 resorts and cities surveyed for the 10th annual Long Haul Holiday Report by Post Office Travel Money¹, the UK’s leading foreign exchange provider. After a steady climb in the ratings from 27th place just four years ago, strong competition for business has led to plummeting prices in restaurants, bars and cafes, helping Tokyo move past Cape Town to take this year’s top spot.
Based on prices researched by long haul tailor-made holiday specialist Travelbag and cross-referenced with those provided by tourist offices, a ‘basket’ of 10 tourist items, including meals and drinks, costs just £48.90 in Tokyo. This has made the Japanese capital 24 per cent cheaper than runner-up Cape Town (£64.50), where the increased cost of eating out and a stronger South African rand has resulted in a 32 per cent price rise over the past 12 months.
In sharp contrast, tourist costs have fallen 23 per cent in Tokyo over the past year and are under half the total in 2013 (£103.58). But Japan is by no means the only destination where prices have fallen, despite sterling’s continuing weakness against long haul currencies. Travelbag researchers found price falls for UK visitors in 40 per cent of the 30 destinations².
The biggest year-on-year falls have been in three of the leading Caribbean islands, which had been looking expensive in past Post Office surveys. A 25 per cent fall to £105.36 in St Lucia (Rodney Bay) has helped the island move up to 13th place from 28th last year. Similarly, prices in Jamaica (Montego Bay) have dropped 24 per cent to £107.50 and the island has climbed 15 places to 14th in the table. The biggest fall has been in Antigua (Jolly Beach), where prices have plummeted 27 per cent to £114.72, taking the island from 32nd to 19th place.
Six of the 10 best value destinations are cheaper this year, according to the Post Office barometer of costs. Aside from Tokyo and third-placed Mombasa Beach, Kenya (down one per cent to £68.59), the remainder are all new entrants to the top 10. With a nine per cent fall in barometer costs, Hoi An in Vietnam (£76.74) is the highest placed of these, overtaking Bali (sixth place, £76.95) for the first time to take fifth position.
Another of the new entrants, Costa Rica, was named alongside Japan and Vietnam as a holiday hotlist choice for 2017 and visitors attracted by the direct flights now available to the country will find prices down eight per cent in Tamarindo to £79.94. This has taken Costa Rica from 12th to seventh place in the barometer table.
Prices have also fallen seven per cent in Penang, Malaysia (£81.77) and six per cent in Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic (£85.34) helping these destinations move into the best value top 10 in ninth and 10th places respectively.
Sri Lanka (Colombo, £75.83, prices up seven per cent) and Orlando, USA (£80.60, prices up one per cent) have retained top 10 places and move up to fourth and eighth in the table.
The four destinations that lost their top 10 places have all registered big price rises in the past 12 months. Phuket, Thailand fell from 7th to 11th place on the back of a 17 per cent rise to £88.84, making Thailand’s top resort over 15 per cent more expensive than Hoi An, Vietnam. Cancun, Mexico (£96.84) has dropped to 12th in the table from 6th in 2016 after prices rose 30 per cent and 18th placed Grand Baie, Mauritius (£114.31, 10th in 2016) is 37 per cent pricier.
The biggest price rise – 54 per cent - has been in Lima, eighth in last year’s top 10. At £120.62, this sent Peru’s capital tumbling to 21st place. There have also been significant increases in the other South American destinations surveyed. Prices have risen 27 per cent in Santiago, Chile (£126.10, 23rd), while a 45 per cent rise in Rio to £160 has made Brazil’s best known city this year’s highest-priced destination – over three times as expensive as Tokyo.
More positively, the Post Office barometer shows sizeable falls in two Middle Eastern destinations. Prices are down 21 per cent in both Oman (Muscat, £141.29, 27th) and Dubai (Jumeirah Beach, £157.75, 29th), with the result that the Emirate is no longer the most expensive destination in the survey.
Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money, which accounts for one-in-four UK foreign exchange transactions, said: “With continuing uncertainty about sterling, it is more important than ever before for people planning winter sun holidays to do their homework and pick a destination where prices for tourist staples are low. In a Twitter poll we conducted last week over half of the 14,000+ people who took part said hotel and flight costs are their major concern3 but the truth is that resort prices can make a big difference to the holiday budget.
“Fortunately, price falls in many UK favourites mean there are plenty of great value long haul destinations to choose from. Japan looks very affordable these days with low prices for meals and drinks in a wide range of centrally-located restaurants and bars and it is also good news that prices have dipped in popular Caribbean islands.”
Japan, Jamaica and St Lucia are among the destinations in hot demand according to the latest bookings trends from Travelbag. Compared with a year ago, bookings are up almost 23 per cent for Japan, nearly 27 per cent for St Lucia and a massive £63 per cent for Jamaica.
Oliver Lomas – Head of Product & Commercial, Travelbag said: “Our customers are keen to make the most of their money when travelling to long-haul destinations, so considering the cost of spending money is of growing importance. We have seen an increase in bookings to a range of Caribbean & Asia destinations where rates for local tourist goods have stayed low. Since 2016, holidays to Japan and Jamaica have seen a steady increase, with bookings up 23 and 63 per cent respectively year on year.”
Travelbag is currently offering packages to Japan for a five-night Tokyo stay from £979pp and an eight-night three-centre Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto holiday from £1,149pp. In the Caribbean it is offering a seven-night St Lucia package from £999pp and in Jamaica from £1,489pp4.
Up to 80 currencies can be ordered at over 11,600 Post Office branches nationwide for next day collection, while many long haul ones are available immediately at over 1,600 larger Post Office branches and US dollars can be purchased without pre-order in more than 4,000 branches.Dollars can also be ordered online at postoffice.co.uk for same day ‘click and collect’ at almost 3,000 branches or for home delivery/next day collection at any Post Office branch.Holidaymakers can also carry up to 13 currencies on the Post Office Travel Money Card, a chip and PIN-enabled MasterCard accepted in millions of locations worldwide.
For more information, please contact:
Joanne Leahy Post Office Press Office 07791 894469
Christine Ball CBPR 01798 874177 / 07976 285997
Notes to Editors:
Details of prices and resorts surveyed can be found in the barometer tables in the accompanying document. ¹
The Post Office Long Haul Report barometer table is compiled from a combination of data supplied by the long haul specialist Travelbag cross-referenced with prices provided by national or regional tourist offices of participating countries except New York, which was researched online. Resorts featured are chosen as representative of the prices that UK holidaymakers will generally find in the country/destination.Random online checks were made to authenticate these prices. Exchange rates used are Post Office internet rates for exchange of £500-£999 on 6th September 2017.
2 Local prices have dropped in 12 of 30 resorts or cities surveyed by Post Office Travel Money.In addition to those named in the release, prices also fell eight per cent in Auckland, New Zealand (£132.36, 24th).
3 Post Office Money Twitter poll (August 2017) found that 52 per cent of 14,364 respondents felt hotel and flight costs to be most important when booking a winter sun holiday.19% said they didn’t care about costs or exchange rate but went where they wanted.
4 Travelbag (0207 001 4112) is offering packages to top 10 destinations as follows:
- Tokyo: 5 nights from £979pp including return Cathay Pacific flights from London Heathrow and room only accommodation at the 5* Hyatt Regency (departures in Feb 2018, for bookings made by 5 Oct)
- Japan:8 nights from £1,149pp including return Cathay Pacific flights from London Heathrow and room only accommodation (4 nights in Tokyo at the 5* Hyatt Regency, 2 nights in Kyoto at the 3* New Miyako Hotel
and 2 nights in Osaka at the 5* Hyatt Regency).Valid for bookings made by 5 Oct for travel in Feb 2018
- Jamaica: Saving up to £600 per couple, 7 nights All Inclusive at the 5* Moon Palace costs from £1,489pp and includes return Virgin Atlantic flights from London Gatwick with free transfers.Valid for bookings made by 20 Sep for travel between 1-30 October 2017
- St Lucia: Saving up to £950 per couple, 7 nights All Inclusive at the 4* St James’s Club Morgan Bay costs from £999pp and includes return Virgin Atlantic flights from London Gatwick.Valid for bookings made by 20 Sep for travel until 15 Oct 2017.
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