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ESCAPE CHRISTMAS BLUES ON A BARGAIN NEW YEAR BREAK

Press Release   •   Dec 26, 2015 00:01 GMT

  • Powerful pound gives tourists up to 18 per cent more travel cash year-on-year
  • Cyprus and Lanzarote top the chart for best value New Year holiday bargains
  • Malaysia and Mexico lead destinations where sterling is strongest
  • Orlando is cheapest long haul destination – despite the dominant dollar

A combination of too much turkey, family friction and cold wintery weather is the annual signal for thousands of people to escape the Christmas Blues by booking a bargain New Year break. This year the strong pound will make a wide range of top winter sun destinations more affordable as new research by Post Office® Travel Money reveals that UK tourists will have up to 18 per cent extra travel cash to spend than a year ago.

Eurozone winter sun resorts Cyprus and Lanzarote offer the best value. Not only will a rise of 10 per cent in sterling’s value put around £45 extra cash in the pockets of UK holidaymakers when they change £500 into euros, but package prices are low as well. In Cyprus, cheapest of 10 winter sun favourites surveyed by the Post Office for New Year getaways, a seven-night package to Paphos including evening meals in resort restaurants costs £239 per person. Costa Teguise in Lanzarote was second cheapest at £268 per person.

Further afield, UK tourists visiting some long haul destinations will get even more for their money. The Malaysian ringgit has dipped 18 per cent against sterling since last December, which means visitors will have the equivalent of £77 more to spend on a £500 currency purchase. However, the higher cost of airfares means that a week’s holiday in Penang with meals included will cost £887 per person, significantly more than a eurozone winter break.

Although the Thai baht is only 4.6 per cent weaker year-on-year against sterling, Thailand emerges from the Post Office survey as cheaper than Malaysia. A one-week Phuket package with resort meals weighed in at £763, 14 per cent less than in Penang.

With Egypt off-sale to UK visitors for the moment, bargain hunters who would normally head to Sharm el Sheikh after Christmas could find Mexico the strongest contender to take its place. At £756 per person for a week in January, Cancun was the cheapest long haul beach resort surveyed. Visitors will benefit from an 11 per cent year-on-year drop in the Mexican peso’s value, giving them £50 extra on a £500 currency exchange. Over two years this rises to almost £91 as sterling is worth 22 per cent more than it was in December 2013.

Ironically, despite the weakness of sterling against the US dollar, a week’s holiday including meals was even cheaper in Orlando (£692 per person). This made Florida’s theme park capital the lowest-priced destination outside Europe. UK tourists may have 4.5 per cent fewer dollars to spend than a year ago but the Post Office research found that they will pay over £60 less for a week’s holiday than in Cancun or Phuket.

1 year comparison Dec 2015 vs. Dec 2014 2 year comparison Dec 2015 vs. Dec 2013
Destination 1 week package incl. evening meals¹ How much the £ buys How much £500 buys How much £500 buys
Cyprus: Paphos £239 +10.0% +£45.25 +£70.68
Canary Islands: Lanzarote £268 +10.0% +£45.25 +£70.68
USA: Orlando £692 -4.5% -£23.43 -£43.76
Mexico: Cancun £756 +11.2% +£50.49 +£90.98
Thailand: Phuket £763 +4.6% +£22.18 +£17.23
Mauritius: Grand Baie £871 +9.6% +£43.80 +£48.40
Malaysia: Penang £887 +18.2% +£76.92 +£91.53
Caribbean: Dominican Rep. £887 -1.5% -£7.46 -£7.90
Dubai: Jumeirah Beach £993 -4.9% -£25.61 -£45.79
Kenya: Mombasa £1,076 +8.1% +£37.46 +£43.07

Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money said: “The great value we found in Orlando just goes to show that holidaymakers planning trips really need to look at both the package price and the cost of eating out. Even though the US dollar remains stubbornly stronger against the pound, prices are low in Orlando and package costs are looking very reasonable.

“Although Eurozone winter sun holidays are unbeatable on price for a January break, the strength of sterling against currencies for long haul destinations like Mexico, Malaysia and Mauritius will make them appealing to holidaymakers looking for higher temperatures.”

However, Post Office Travel Money warns holidaymakers to calculate travel costs carefully before booking. Although the low cost of meals, drinks and other tourist staples made Mombasa one of the cheapest resorts surveyed in the annual Post Office Long Haul Report and sterling is currently worth eight per cent more than a year ago, Kenya was most expensive in the survey. At £1,076 per person for a one week holiday including meals, Mombasa costs over £300 more than Cancun or Phuket. It was also more expensive than Dubai (£993) or Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic (£887), even though both have been negatively affected by the weaker pound.

The Post Office is the UK’s leading provider of foreign currency, offering euro on demand at over 10,000 branches and US dollars at 4,000 branches. 1,600 larger Post Office Branches stock 30 leading currencies while up to 70 currencies can be pre-ordered at over 11,500 branches or online at postoffice.co.uk/travel for next day branch or home delivery.

Holidaymakers can also use the Post Office Travel Essentials Mobile App to buy currency using their mobile phone as well as check the value of their holiday money and see how far it will stretch on typical tourist staples for the country they are visiting. The Mobile App is available to download free of charge on the App Store or at Google Play.

ENDS

For more information, please contact:

Gabrielle O’Gara Post Office Press Office 0207 250 2534 / 07718 977702

Gabrielle.ogara@postoffice.co.uk

Notes to Editors:

¹Package prices were sourced online from Travel Supermarket and Hayes & Jarvis. Prices are based on the lowest available package holiday from London, departing 2-8 January 2016. All prices were accurate at the time of research and are per person based on two adults sharing, including accommodation and return flights. Evening meal prices were taken from the Post Office Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer, except for the Dominican Republic and Kenya,, where All Inclusive package prices are quoted, and Lanzarote, where research was conducted independently online.

About the Post Office

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