Post Office reveals what sterling’s current value means for holidaymakers
Sterling is stronger year-on-year against 80 per cent of the top 40 holiday currencies and will stretch further in all 40 destinations compared with last summer
The pound’s biggest gains are against the Chilean peso and Turkish lira
City break tourists visiting Budapest will get 10 per cent more for their pounds
But holidaymakers returning to Sharm-el-Sheikh will get almost 10 per cent less cash
As the UK looks ahead to life outside the EU, sterling’s gains against holiday currencies compared with a year ago mean holidaymakers can look forward to seeing their cash stretch further on trips abroad. A post-Brexit update on the exchange rate research originally conducted for the 2020 Holiday Money Report by Post Office Travel Money, which accounts for one-in-four of all UK currency transactions, now reveals that 80 per cent of the top 40 holiday currencies have fallen in value against the pound compared with a year ago and all 40 are weaker than last summer1.
Britons travelling abroad will find their travel cash stretches up to 22 per cent further than last February. The biggest cash bonus is for visitors to Chile, one of 10 Post Office Travel Money 2020 hotlist tips, where a £500 purchase of Chilean peso will provide them with the equivalent of over £87 extra cash to spend.
South Africa and Mauritius are among several top winter sun destinations where sterling will stretch further. UK visitors will get over 10 per cent more South African rand than a year ago, which will put an extra £47 in their pockets when they change £500. Visitors to Mauritius will get almost as much because sterling has risen by nearly nine cent against the rupee, giving them almost £40 extra to spend.
In Europe holidaymakers planning visits to Turkey will get the most ‘bang for their buck’ because sterling is worth 19 per cent more against the Turkish lira than a year ago and tourists buying their currency now will get around £80 more in lira on a £500 transaction. The most recent Post Office cost of living barometer found that top Turkish resort Marmaris was second cheapest of 42 destinations surveyed.
City breaks are now the most popular type of holiday taken by Britons, according to consumer research2. Holidaymakers will do best in Hungarian capital Budapest because the Hungarian forint has weakened by 10 per cent against sterling since last January. This will give them almost £44 extra cash to spend on a £500 currency exchange and £59 more than if they had visited the city last summer when sterling was worth 13.4 per cent less than now.
Britons will also be quids in when visiting the Eurozone because sterling is four per cent stronger than a year ago. This means they will have nearly £18 more to spend when they change £500. And they will save twice as much – almost £40 (+8.7 per cent) - compared with last August when sterling had sunk to a year low.
Portugal and Spain remain the cheapest options for British visitors, according to the latest Post Office Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer but the barometer also found that prices have fallen since last February in every Eurozone destination surveyed. In Corfu tourist costs for meals and drinks are down by over 20 per cent.
The same benefits apply in Eastern European countries. Sterling currently buys 4.3 per cent more Croatian kuna – over £18 more on a £500 exchange. Over the past decade Croatia has become one of the most popular European destinations with currency sales mushrooming by 269 per cent since 2009. Prices in beach destinations like Porec remain low – boosted by the stronger pound.
Another Balkan destination looks a good bet for holidaymakers in 2020. Sterling buys 3.3 per cent more Bulgarian lev – the equivalent of £16 extra – and unbeatable prices in beach destinations like Sunny Beach and Golden Sands and in ski resorts led by Borovets and Bansko have resulted in a big rise in demand for holidays to Bulgaria. The Post Office has chosen Bulgaria for its Holiday Hotlist because it says that a 17 per cent rise in Bulgarian lev sales last July and August and a 28 per cent rise during October half term – are evidence that bargain hunters will be booking holidays to the destination in 2020.
Nick Boden, Head of Post Office Travel Money, the UK’s largest provider of foreign currency, said: “Sterling is now stronger against the vast majority of holiday currencies and that spells great news for holidaymakers. UK tourists can do even better by picking a destination where the cost of living is low so they benefit from both the stronger pound and low prices in resort restaurants and shops.
“However, sterling is entering uncharted territory and exchange rates could continue to fluctuate throughout 2020 as trade negotiations with the EU progress. We advise holidaymakers planning trips abroad in 2020 to keep a close eye on rate movements and purchase foreign currency when sterling will give them more cash for their pounds.
“Budget realistically to avoid running out of holiday cash and having to use credit or debit cards abroad, which are likely to incur extra fees. Instead, consider loading holiday money onto a Post Office Travel Money Card at times when rates are favourable as this prepaid card does not incur transaction fees in shops and restaurants abroad.”
The Post Office research found that it is not all good news for holidaymakers. Last autumn saw news of a resumption in flights to Sharm-el-Sheikh but those visiting Egypt’s top resort will get fewer Egyptian pounds because this is one of only eight currencies against which sterling has weakened. The UK pound is worth almost 10 per cent less than last January and this will impact on the cost of meals and drinks bought in the Red Sea resort.
Holidaymakers visiting Costa Rica can also expect to get over seven per cent fewer colon for their pounds, making this fast-growing destination more expensive for UK holidaymakers than other Latin American countries.
Although sterling is stronger than a year ago against the US dollar and currencies for some Caribbean islands as well as popular Far Eastern destinations like Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia, the gains for UK tourists are marginal (under one per cent). Holidaymakers still to choose their destination should therefore consider where living costs in these areas are lower. The Post Office barometer found that Orlando is a better bet than New York, while Antigua is cheaper than Barbados and prices in Vietnam are lower than in Thailand.
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.
For more information, please contact:
Christine Ball CBPR 01798 874177 / 07976 285997 firstname.lastname@example.org
Lily Cunningham Post Office Press Office 07967 240604
Notes to Editors:
¹ Post Office Travel Money rate comparisons for February 2020 compared with February and August 2019:
|Currency||Current Exchange Rate||% +/-now v Feb 2019||% +/-now v Aug 19||2020 v 2019 £500 buys +/-||2020 v August £500 buys +/-|
|South African rand||18.3596||+10.5%||+4.3%||+£47.51||+£20.69|
|New Zealand dollar||1.9263||+6.0%||+7.6%||+£29.88||+£35.51|
|Dominican peso oro||63.6471||+5.8%||+12.3%||+£26.49||+£54.71|
|Peru nuevo sol||3.981||+2.1%||+7.3%||+£8.68||+£34.21|
|East Caribbean dollar||3.2472||+0.5%||+7.7%||+£1.54||+£35.68|
|Hong Kong dollar||9.4562||-0.2%||+6.7%||-£3.35||+£31.19|
|Costa Rican colon||651.5097||-7.4%||+6.7%||-£39.39||+£31.43|
2 Consumer research conducted by Post Office Travel Money in May 2019 and by ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents) in August 2019 found that city breaks are the top choice for UK holidaymakers travelling abroad.
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