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Worldwide barometer reveals price falls in holiday hotspots

Press release   •   Jan 13, 2018 10:30 GMT

Worldwide barometer reveals price falls in holiday hotspots

Post Office Holiday Money Report identifies destinations where the holiday purse will stretch furthest in 2018 (

  • Sunny Beach, Bulgaria tops chart of 42 destinations for the first time
  • Japan is runner up and cheapest for long haul holidaymakers
  • Cape Town, South Africa and Porec, Croatia enter best value top 10
  • Big price falls of over 20 per cent in the Caribbean and other long haul favourites
  • Sterling’s year-on-year gains against 70 per cent of the top 40 holiday currencies¹, ranging from the US dollar to the Turkish lira, mean lower costs for UK visitors in many of the world’s most popular hotspots, according to Post Office Travel Money’s annual Holiday Money Report. The Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer published in the report shows that tourist items like meals and drinks will cost less than a year ago in over 40 per cent of the 42 destinations surveyed, with falls of 20 per cent or more in eight of those hotspots².

    Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money said: “The squeeze on spending at home means holiday resorts and cities where the pound will stretch further or where local prices are cheap are likely to reap the benefit of increasing visitor numbers in 2018.”

    Sunny Beach, Bulgaria has taken the top spot in the Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer for the first time, with a clear margin of victory over its two closest rivals, Japan and the Algarve. Its reputation for value made 2017 a good year for Bulgaria and the Bulgarian lev’s appearance in the Post Office’s Fastest Growing Currencies chart was evidence of increased consumer demand³. At £37.92 for eight tourist items – a meal for two, drinks, suncream and insect repellent, Sunny Beach can expect to attract more bargain-hunters in the year ahead.

    The biggest price falls of all have been in long haul destinations, thanks to a combination of the stronger pound and lower charges in shops, restaurants and bars. Prices have dropped 36 per cent in Dubai (Jumeirah Beach, £141.23) and 27 per cent in New Zealand (Auckland, £104.80), while prices have plummeted in the Caribbean: 31 per cent in St Lucia (Rodney Bay, £99.61) and Antigua (Jolly Beach, £114.18); 27 per cent in Jamaica (Montego Bay, £105.53) and 26 per cent in the Dominican Republic (Punta Cana, £67.46).

    There have also been significant price falls in two long haul cities that have risen to prominence in Post Office barometers in recent years. Japanese capital Tokyo (£43.14) remains the cheapest long haul destination and has moved up from eighth to second place in the barometer of 42 global favourites on the back of a 26 per cent price fall.

    Cape Town (£54.95), which has also attracted growing numbers of UK visitors because of its favourable exchange rate and low city costs, returns to the best value top 10 in fifth place. The top tourist city in South Africa, which is among the Post Office’s 10 hotlist trips for 2018, has moved up from last year’s 11th position after registering a 16 per cent drop in prices.

    These are the only two long haul destinations to feature in the Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer top 10 as Europe continues to dominate the 10 leading places. However, rising prices mean holidaymakers can expect to pay more in 11 of 12 European resorts and cities.

    Prices have risen by a third to £44.25 in the Algarve, last year’s best value destination, which has dropped to third place. The biggest increase has been in the Costa del Sol, where prices have increased by over 42 per cent to £55.20 – the result of steep increases in the cost of eating out.

    The only European destination to register a price fall was Porec in Croatia’s Istrian Peninsula. At £61.54, a drop of 11 per cent has taken the Croatian resort into the worldwide barometer top 10 for the first time, in ninth place. Croatia is one of 10 Post Office 2018 hotlist tips after Croatian kuna sales surged by 38 per cent last year and doubled over the past five years.

    Andrew Brown said: “Croatia is one of the biggest destination success stories of the past decade, and its broad appeal to holidaymakers of all types means it can expect to gain further ground in 2018. One of the country’s key strengths is its youth appeal and the low prices revealed by this year’s barometer will be an added incentive for this growing market.”

    France and Italy remains Europe’s most expensive countries for UK visitors as they have been throughout the 10 years of the Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer. Prices in Nice have risen almost 17 per cent since last year to £106.45 and are well over double those in Sunny Beach and the Algarve. Italy is cheaper than France though, with prices in Sorrento (£91.47) 14 per cent lower than in Nice.

    Across the Atlantic, Orlando (£71.82) is more cost effective for UK visitors as prices have dropped 11 per cent since last January when the US dollar was much stronger. New York (£95.88) has also seen a marginal fall in tourist costs – albeit of only one per cent.

    In the Far East, Vietnam and Bali have moved further ahead of Thailand. The gap has widened because of a 21 per cent year-on-year price rise in Phuket (£86.27), compared with falls in Vietnam and Bali. Just outside the top 10, prices in Hoi An, Vietnam have fallen by 21 per cent to £65.85, while those in Kuta, Bali are down one per cent at 66.61. This means visitors to Phuket are likely to pay around 30 per cent more than in Hoi An or Kuta.

    Andrew Brown said: “Growing numbers of bargain-hunting holidaymakers are turning to Bali and Vietnam as awareness of their weak currencies, low resort costs and cheaper flight prices drives demand. Over the past five years the Indonesian rupiah and the Vietnamese dong have shown the highest levels of growth of any currency we offer.”

    In its review of long term growth4 Post Office Travel Money reports that sales of the Vietnamese dong have risen 345 per cent while Bali’s currency, the Indonesian rupiah, has put on a 271 per cent increase. Both currencies have featured in the Fastest Growing Currencies charts for the past six years.

    At the foot of the barometer table falling prices in Dubai (£141.23) have helped the Emirate to rise above Singapore (£153.72), which emerges as this year’s most expensive country.

    Andrew Brown said: “This year’s barometer results are a mixed bag. Holidaymakers planning trips to long haul destinations will benefit from big price falls that will help their travel cash stretch further. The Far East looks great value – especially Japan, Vietnam and Bali - and so too are several Caribbean islands.

    “Closer to home, tourists will have to dig a bit deeper in their pockets to meet the higher prices we found in many resorts. Despite this, there is no beating Bulgaria for its low prices and it is good to see Croatia featuring in the best value top 10 for the first time. The clear message is to do your holiday homework before booking to be sure of a good deal.”

    The Post Office is the UK’s leading provider of foreign currency, accounting for one-in-four of all foreign exchange transactions. Euros are available on demand at over 10,000 branches and US dollars at 4,000 branches. They can also be ordered online at 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 for next day branch or home delivery.


    For more information, please contact:

    Joanne Leahy Post Office Press Office 07791 894469

    Christine Ball CBPR 01798 874177 / 07976 285997

    A full breakdown of findings from the Post Office Travel Money Holiday Money Report 2018 can be found in the accompanying brochure.

    Notes to Editors:

    1 For more information on sterling gains, see page 2 – Rates in our favour - of the Holiday Money Report.

    2 Post Office Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer research (January 2018): see Holiday Money Report pages 5-6 and the attached full tables of costs for 42 destinations. The barometer was compiled with the help of national and regional tourist boards and specialist tour operators Balkan Holidays (Bulgaria) and Travelbag (various long haul destinations). Eight items – a three course meal for two with wine, cup of coffee, bottle of local beer, can of Coca-Cola, glass of wine, bottle of still water, suncream and insect repellent – were selected as representative of the purchases UK tourists are most likely to make on a foreign holiday.

    Post Office Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer found that barometer prices had fallen compared with January 2017 in 43 per cent of destinations:

    Jumeirah Beach, Dubai -36.1%

    Rodney Bay, St Lucia -31.4%

    Jolly Beach, Antigua -30.0%

    Auckland, New Zealand -27.3%

    Montego Bay, Jamaica -27.1%

    Tokyo, Japan -26.2%

    Punta Cana, Dominican Republic -25.9%

    Hoi An, Vietnam -21.2%

    Cape Town, South Africa -16.0%

    Mombasa, Kenya -15.1%

    Tamarindo, Costa Rica -11.5%

    Orlando, USA -11.0%

    Porec, Croatia -10.9%

    Penang, Malaysia -6.1%

    Darwin, Australia -1.5%

    New York, USA -1.0%

    Bali, Indonesia -1.0%

    Prices have risen in 57 per cent of destinations but the increase is under 10 per cent in a quarter of these destinations. The biggest rises are in Singapore (65 per cent) and Spain (42.3 per cent).

    3 For more details of the currencies that feature in the Fastest Growing Currencies chart, see page 8 of the Holiday Money Report brochure.

    4 For more information on long term currency growth, see page 9 of the Holiday Money Report brochure

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