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Holiday forecast looks brighter as prices fall abroad

Press release   •   Jan 11, 2020 00:01 GMT

Post Office Travel Money Holiday Money Report reveals 2020’s best value hotspots (www.postoffice.co.uk/holidaymoneyreport)

Report reveals falling prices in over three-quarters of resorts and cities worldwide

15 per cent year-on-year price fall makes Sunny Beach, Bulgaria cheapest for tourists

Japan powers past South Africa to become best value for long haul travellers

Chile, Japan, Poland and Tobago are named among 10 hotspots for 2020 as Post

Office reports surging demand for their currencies. Hotlist also includes expert

‘tips for the top’ from Airbnb, Crystal Ski Holidays and Travelbag for the first time

Sterling looks set to play a pivotal part in holiday destination choice in 2020, according to the 14th annual Holiday Money Report from Post Office Travel Money. The reportreveals that 85 per cent of the Post Office 40 bestselling currencies are currently weaker against sterling than a year ago1 and that holidaymakers will benefit from the positive impact this is having on tourist prices in many of the world’s most popular resorts.

Research for the Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer published in the report2 reveals that the cost of eight tourist staples – a three-course evening meal for two with wine, bottle of beer, glass of wine, can of Coca-Cola, large bottle of water, cup of coffee, suncream and insect repellent - has fallen in 33 of the 42 worldwide destinations surveyed and by over 10 per cent in 11 of these. While the power of the pound is the main reason, local price cuts are a contributory factor in 19 destinations3.

The biggest price fall of 44 per cent has been in Antigua (£70.51), which has risen to its highest ever barometer position (14th) as a result4. In Europe the biggest fall in barometer costs has been in Corfu (£75.91), where a drop of 21 per cent has taken the Greek island to 16th place from 21st a year ago.

Down under, prices have plunged by over 19 per cent in Darwin (£118.96). Australia is one of many destinations to benefit from sterling’s rise in value. Singapore (£98.85) has registered an 18 per cent drop in tourist prices, while Jumeirah Beach (£126.30) in Dubai, one of the top choices for Britons travelling beyond Europe, is over 16 per cent cheaper than a year ago.

Topping the Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer chart at just £30.68 for the eight items, Sunny Beach, Bulgaria has proved unbeatable value in Europe in recent years and is cheapest worldwide. The resort’s rock-bottom prices for UK visitors have fallen a further 15 per cent since last January, making it 30 per cent cheaper than runner-up Turkey, where

prices in Marmaris (£44.15) are down 2.4 per cent, thanks to the weak Turkish lira.

Third-placed Tokyo (£48.21) is the best value long haul destination, overtaking Cape Town (£59.39), which has dropped back to sixth place after registering a price rise of over 18 per cent. Tourist prices in the Japanese capital have continued to fall – this year by over 13 per cent - despite hosting the Rugby World Cup last autumn. This can only bode well for sports fans planning trips to see the Olympic Games.

Portugal’s Algarve (£49.87) is again cheapest in the Eurozone and, in fourth place, is one of six European destinations to feature in the top 10. One place below, Spain’s Costa del Sol (£53.16) is over six per cent pricier.

Vietnam is the only new entrant to the top 10, rising to 7th place from 11th last year on the back of a fall of over 14 per cent in tourist costs in Hoi An (£59.49). In so doing, it has overtaken Bali to become this year’s best value long haul beach resort.

Despite losing out to Vietnam, a price fall of nearly 12 per cent in Bali (£61.43) has helped the Indonesian island move up to eighth position, overtaking the Czech Republic (Prague, £63.02) and Cyprus (Paphos, £63.22), which complete the top 10. Rising meal costs have made the Czech capital almost 11 per cent more expensive year-on-year.

Post Office Travel Money Head of Travel Nick Boden said: “With the price falls we found in destinations worldwide, holidaymakers will have plenty of choice in the coming year – provided sterling holds its value. In Europe the best deals are likely to be in Bulgaria, Turkey and Portugal, while further afield Japan, Vietnam and Bali are looking good bets for the bargain-hunter. The clear message is that holidaymakers should do their homework on resort prices before booking to be sure of the best deal.”

Despite widespread falls, prices have risen in over 20 per cent of destinations. Aside from Cape Town, the biggest increases are in Mombasa, Kenya (£66.95, up 19.8 per cent), Phuket, Thailand (£97.64, up 18.3 per cent) and Rodney Bay, St Lucia (£93.99, up 17.4 per cent).

Abu Dhabi (£152.11) and the Seychelles (£165.10) remain the most expensive destinations in the barometer survey – over twice the cost of the top 16 resorts and cities - but prices have dropped by nearly 10 per cent in both.

Value is one of the determining factors for the 10 destinations chosen for Post Office Travel Money’s 2020 Holiday Hotlist5. Four of them - Bulgaria, Japan, Portugal and Vietnam - feature in the worldwide barometer top 10. Cheap costs in Bulgaria and Japan has already boosted demand for both destinations: Bulgaria rose up the Post Office Bestselling Currencies top 20 after sales surged 17 per cent year-on-year last summer and 28 per cent during the autumn half term. Japan put on annual currency sales growth of 54 per cent last year and can expect a boost from the Olympic Games this summer.

Chile, Poland and Tobago have also been chosen for the Holiday Hotlist because surging demand for their currencies suggests a change in travellers’ tastes. The Polish zloty entered the Post Office Bestselling Currencies top 10 for the first time in 2019, while the Trinidad & Tobago dollar was the year’s second fastest growing Post Office currency with an increase of 58 per cent, which accelerated to 148 per cent for October-December. Over the past decade Chilean peso sales have mushroomed by 352 per cent – further evidence, says the Post Office, that UK tourists will travel long distances for out-of-the ordinary experiences.

This year’s Holiday Hotlist is the first to feature nominations from other travel companies. The Post Office asked three travel specialists with whom it works on its series of holiday costs barometers to put forward their tips for the top. Airbnb chose Romania, a destination that saw a 298 per cent year-on-year in bookings for the company during 2019. Crystal Ski Holidays picked Andorra, a ski region it expects to gain ground during the coming year. Finally, Travelbag, Post Office partner in the Long Haul Holiday Report selected Vietnam, which has established a pattern of strong package holiday growth over the past three years.

More details of the Holiday Hotlist can be found on pages 7-8 of the Post Office Travel Money Holiday Money Report brochure.

The Post Office is the UK’s leading provider of foreign currency, offering euro on demand at over 9,000 branches and US dollars at over 3,500 branches. They can also be ordered online at postoffice.co.uk for same day ‘click and collect’ at selected branches, for 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 www.postoffice.co.uk/travel for next day branch or home delivery.

ENDS

For more information, please contact:

Joanne Leahy Post Office Press Office 07791 894469

Joanne.Leahy@postoffice.co.uk

Christine Ball CBPR 01798 874177 / 07976 285997 cball@cballpr.co.uk

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

Notes to Editors:

1 Post Office exchange rate analysis: 2 January 2020 compared with 2 January 2019. Only six of the Post Office’s 40 bestselling currencies are currently stronger against sterling than a year ago. They are the Russian ruble, Egyptian pound, Thai baht, Costa Rican colon, Canadian dollar and Indonesian rupiah. See Holiday Money Report page 4.

2 Post Office Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer research: 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.

3 Post Office barometerresearch revealed local price cuts (i.e. in local currency before sterling exchange rate was applied) in 19 of the destinations surveyed: Abu Dhabi, Antigua, Australia, Bali, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Dubai, Greece, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Malta, Mauritius, Peru, Seychelles, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.

4 Prices fell 44 per cent in Antigua year-on-year. However, some of that fall is due to the lower prices in popular restaurants in Island capital St John compared with those in more expensive resort restaurants.

5 Post Office Travel Money’s 10 2020 hotspots are based on factors including currency performance, new flight routes, events, low resort costs and the strength of sterling. They are: Andorra, Bulgaria, Chile, Egypt, Japan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Tobago and Vietnam. See Holiday Money Report pages 7-8

About Post Office:

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