- Portugal’s Algarve is cheapest for UK tourists from 44 destinations surveyed
- Tokyo powers past Cape Town and Bali to become best value long haul destination
- Local prices pegged or lower than a year ago will lessen the impact of the weaker pound in 40 per cent of resorts or cities
- Sterling is now stronger against 60 per cent of bestselling currencies five years ago
Value for money will be a crucial commodity in 2017 as affordability rather than aspiration provides the clue to holiday choice, according to Post Office Travel Money.In its annual Holiday Money Report, the UK’s largest provider of foreign currency says Europe could be the big winner as tighter budgets attract UK tourists to resorts where the holiday purse will stretch furthest.Led by Portugal’s Algarve, Europe dominates the report’s Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer of 44 resorts or cities, taking nine of the 10 best value places¹.
The ‘currency conscious holiday’ has already been named a key trend for 2017 by ABTA² but, while there is no ignoring the impact of a weaker pound on the costs UK tourists will face in resorts and cities abroad, Post Office Travel Money says this is only part of the picture. The Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer shows the extent to which local prices for meals, drinks and other tourist staples will dictate how far the holiday budget stretches.
While the Post Office Travel Money barometer reveals that overall costs are higher worldwide than in 2016, UK tourists can take some comfort because prices in local currency for the eight tourist items³ surveyed have either fallen or stayed on par with 12 months ago in 40 per cent of the destinations surveyed4.In Europe this rises to 50 per cent.By choosing one of these resorts or cities, holidaymakers can keep the increased cost caused by the weaker pound to a minimum.
The best example of this is in Portugal’s Algarve, which tops the chart for the second year running with a barometer total of £33.36 - only £4 (10 per cent) more than a year ago.This is because the local price (euro) of an evening meal for two with wine – the biggest single cost in the barometer basket – is down almost five per cent year-on-year.
Runner-up Sunny Beach, Bulgaria (£33.53) is just pence behind the Algarve and also benefits from a 1.5 per cent fall in local prices.In third place, Spain’s Costa del Sol (£38.79) has
closed the gap on the Bulgarian resort because of a bigger three per cent drop in local costs.
Elsewhere in Europe, Marmaris, Turkey (£49.74, 4th), Prague (£51.17, 5th), Budapest (£53.18, 7th) and Corfu (£63.54, 10th) have retained their top 10 places, while Paphos (£53.03) has risen to sixth place, its highest ever position.This spells good news for those planning to visit the Cypriot resort in its year as joint European Capital of Culture. Completing the European line up in ninth place is Sliema, Malta (£62.62), one of two new top 10 entrants.
The other new entrant is this year’s biggest surprise: Japan’s growing reputation for affordability will get a further boost as Tokyo (£58.47) makes its first appearance in the Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer top 10 in eighth place – the sole long haul destination to feature in it.Tokyo is now by far the cheapest of eight Far Eastern cities and resorts surveyed, with tourist staples costing 18 per cent less than in Phuket (£71.39, 15th), 28 per cent less than in Penang (£81.20, 20th) and 43 per cent less than in Beijing (£102.84, 31st).
Tokyo has powered past Cape Town (£65.37), which has fallen from third to 11th place, and Bali (£67.11), which is down to 13th from 8th place.Tourist costs are now much higher in both destinations because of a combination of local price rises and a surge in value for the South African rand and Indonesian rupiah since last January.Bali’s barometer basket costs over double what it did three years ago when its leading resort, Kuta, took top spot in the chart.
Conversely, a weak peso and stable prices in Cancun (£66.50) have helped the Mexican resort to register one of the smallest increases of 12 per cent and move five places up the barometer chart to 12th place.Now the third cheapest long haul holiday resort, Cancun should be well-placed to compete with the Caribbean this year.
Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money said: “Holidaymakers can do little about sterling’s value but they can do their homework and plan trips to resorts or cities where prices for meals, drinks and other tourist staples are low.Europe is looking unbeatable value with nine of this year’s 10 cheapest destinations, not to mention local price falls in half the European resorts and cities we surveyed.Further afield, Tokyo and Cancun are good bets for bargain hunters but don’t discount Cape Town or Bali.If the rand and rupiah fall in value, low costs on the ground could make these great choices too.”
Among the six Caribbean islands surveyed, resort prices in Tobago (£90.74) and the Dominican Republic (£91.04) are much cheaper than in Barbados (£134.54), Jamaica (£144.74), St Lucia (£145.11) and Antigua (£164.48), which are among the survey’s seven most expensive destinations.Prices in English Harbour, Antigua are more than 81 per cent higher than in Tobago’s resorts.
Barometer prices in Jumeirah Beach, Dubai (£221.11) are again the most expensive of the 44 destinations surveyed because of the high cost of meals and drinks.Post Office Travel Money says wallet-watchers planning trips can keep their costs down by going all-inclusive.
While the Post Office Travel Money Holiday Money Report acknowledges the impact of the weaker pound on holiday costs in the coming year compared with 2015 and 2016, it points out that sterling is actually stronger now than it was five years ago.
Andrew Brown said: “This year’s report puts 2016’s sterling fall into perspective.The pound may be weaker than 12 months ago but if you compare today’s rates with those five years ago, sterling is stronger now against 60 per cent of our 40 bestselling currencies.As many of these bestsellers also feature among our Fastest Growing Currencies, it appears that holidaymakers are becoming more switched on to where they will get the best value and choosing resorts accordingly.”
Among the destinations where UK holidaymakers will get more foreign currency for their pounds than in January 2012 are the South African rand (+41 per cent), Mexican peso (+25 per cent), Japanese yen (+25 per cent) and Indonesian rupiah (20 per cent).In that same period the Post Office reports that sales of the Japanese yen and Indonesian rupiah have risen by over 200 per cent.
Accounting for one-in-four UK currency transactions, the Post Office offers 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 70 currencies can be pre-ordered at over 11,600 branches or online at postoffice.co.uk/travel for next day branch or home delivery.
For more information, please contact:
Gabrielle O’Gara Post Office Press Office 0207 250 2534 / 07718 977702
A full breakdown of findings from the Post Office Travel Money Holiday Money Report 2017 can be found in the accompanying brochure.
Notes to Editors:
1 Post Office Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer research (December 2016): see Holiday Money Report pages 5-6 and the attached full tables of costs for 44 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.
2 Association of British Travel Agents Travel Trends Report 2017
³ The tourism items surveyed for the Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer are: a three-course meal for two with wine, cup of filter coffee, bottle of local beer (330ml), can of Coca-Cola (330ml), glass of wine (175ml), bottle of still water (1.5 litre), suncream (200ml) and insect repellent (50ml).
4 Post Office barometerresearch revealed that local prices have either fallen or remained on par with January 2016 in the following destinations: Antigua, Barbados, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Dominican Republic, Greece, Italy, Mauritius, Malta, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, USA (Austin, New York and Orlando) and Vietnam.
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