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Annual Post Office Travel Services Holiday Money Report reveals best value overseas

Rating game provides clues to 2010 holiday hotspots

Holidaymakers planning trips abroad in 2010 need to play the rating game to protect themselves against sterling’s volatility. While the pound has risen in value against almost every major currency since last year, the fourth annual Holiday Money Report, published by Post Office Travel Money, reveals the holiday hotspots where sterling will stretch further because their currencies have weakened most and living costs are low…

Holidaymakers planning trips abroad in 2010 need to play the rating game to protect themselves against sterling’s volatility. While the pound has risen in value against almost every major currency since last year, the fourth annual Holiday Money Report, published by Post Office Travel Money, reveals the holiday hotspots where sterling will stretch further because their currencies have weakened most and living costs are low.

Jamaica, Egypt and Dubai top the list of destinations where UK holidaymakers will have the most extra cash in their pocket, thanks to a strengthening of the pound over the past 12 months. Tourists will receive over 21 per cent more Jamaican dollars, almost 14 per cent more Egyptian pounds and 12.6 per cent more UAE dirhams compared to January 20091.

But visitors to Turkey face paying much more for tourist items. While the Turkish lira has weakened by over seven per cent against sterling in the past year, the new Post Office Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer reveals a price hike of almost 44 per cent for meals, drinks and other holiday items in the UK’s top short haul destination.

This means that while Turkey proved 2009’s big winner – with Post Office currency sales up 44 per cent, the country has dropped 14 places in the barometer table of 30 worldwide destinations to 22nd position, making it much more expensive than Spain.

Sarah Munro, Post Office Head of Travel Money said: “Judging by the price rises recorded in our latest cost comparison survey, Turkey is unlikely to be the cheap destination that it was just a couple of years ago when the Post Office barometer identified the country as a best buy. For 2010 our shopping basket of eight tourist staples indicates that Turkey is now 68 per cent more expensive than Spain.”

Spain emerges from the Post Office research conducted for the Holiday Money Report as the cheapest eurozone destination – fourth placed overall and showing a price fall of 30 per cent for the same items surveyed a year ago. This is part of a general trend, in which every eurozone country surveyed is cheaper than last year.

Sarah Munro said: “The eurozone looks to be striking back after the battering its resorts took in 2009 when Post Office euro sales were down over 14 per cent. This meant that although the euro remained our bestselling currency by far, accounting for a dominant 72.2 per cent of our travel money business, its share reduced by over two per cent compared with 2008.

“However, the Post Office Worldwide Holidays Costs Barometer research has revealed an underlying reduction in eurozone prices and, when you add the improved exchange rate to this, the outlook looks relatively sunny for UK holidaymakers.”

Overall, tourist costs are down in 17 of the 25 destinations previously surveyed for the Post Office barometer, with some of the biggest falls in Bulgaria, Mexico, Mauritius and Barbados. Prices have risen in only eight destinations, led by Turkey and South Africa. The latter suffered because its currency is one of the few to have strengthened against sterling (+13 per cent year on year).

Hungary was the cheapest destination surveyed for the Post Office barometer for the second year running and, since its currency, the forint, is now worth over nine per cent less than a year ago, the country looks unbeatable value for a city break.

Thailand, 2009’s value destination, was runner up and again the cheapest long haul country. Close competitor Kenya – seventh placed overall in the survey also looks well-placed after topping the Post Office Fastest Growing Currencies3 list with annual sales growth of 78 per cent.

The Post Office Holiday Money Report, published by the UK’s largest provider of travel money, reviews travel trends for the past 12 months and identifies ten currencies for 2010, based on exchange rate trends and events taking place this year.

All major currencies are available at the Post Office. Over 70 currencies can be pre-ordered at 12,000 Post Office branches or online at postoffice.co.uk for next day branch or home delivery. 29 currencies are available on demand at 1,600 larger Post Office branches, while an additional 2,600 offer US dollars on demand and a total of over 8,500 branches offer euros on demand.

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Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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