The resurgent pound is making for a sunny outlook for UK holidaymakers this year. The eighth Post Office Travel Money report, out today, reveals that prices are down in 70 per cent of the 44 popular holiday destinations they surveyed.
The resorts they picked were nominated by tourist boards as being most popular with UK tourists or representative of average tourist prices.
The barometer table (basket of goods) was compiled with the help of national and local tourist boards and specialist tour operators – Balkan Holidays (Bulgaria), Serenity Holidays (Gambia) and Travelbag (various long-haul destinations).
Eight popular items are in the basket: a three-course meal for two with wine, a cup of coffee, a bottle of local beer, a can of Coca-Cola, a glass of wine, a bottle of still water, sunblock and a packet of cigarettes.
Bali is the cheapest destination. The basket of holiday items in Kuta costs around £31, a third cheaper than in Sri Lanka.
In the Eurozone:
The Algarve in Portugal is the cheapest. Its basket of popular holiday items costs just over £35. Resorts in Cyprus (Paphos – £46), Greece (Corfu – £48) and Italy (Sorrento) are also cheaper this year.
However, Italy is the most expensive in the Eurozone with a basket costing £81. Costs in France (Nice) were stationary this year – at £64.
Spain has registered a significant price rise over the past year. Meal costs are up by 22 per cent on the Costa del Sol, pushing the price of the basket to around £39. Still reasonable, Spain is the sixth-cheapest country in the Eurozone.
Outside the Eurozone:
Bulgaria continues to be a popular – and good-value – destination for family holidays. Prices are down by 10 per cent to £38.46 for a basket of goods in Sunny Beach.
Prague in the Czech Republic is also good value, coming in at £37 for its basket of holiday essentials.
In Marmaris, Turkey, another family favourite, prices have fallen to a five-year low. Its barometer basket costs around £41; 19 per cent less than a year ago.
What’s on the hot list for 2014?
Bali – its weak currency means visitors will have 29 per cent more cash in hand than a year ago.
Croatia – Sales of kuna have doubled over the past two years. It joined the European Union in 2013, but has been attracting revellers to its many music festivals for years (including Prince Harry in 2011).
Dominican Republic – The weak Dominican peso oro and five-star accommodation at four-star prices explain the biggest currency sales growth for any Caribbean or Latin American destination during 2013.
Japan – The slide of the yen means UK visitors have 25 per cent more cash in hand.
New Zealand – The Hobbit connection is reaping rewards for NZ’s tourism industry.
Oman – A growth of 65 per cent in sales of the Omani riyal since 2011 suggests that the efforts being made to promote this country’s natural attractions are bearing fruit.
Portugal – Not only is the Algarve 2014’s cheapest European destination, but Lisbon is lowest-priced for a Eurozone city break.
South Africa – Nelson Mandela’s recent passing is still fuelling interest in South Africa as it prepares to mark 20 years of democracy. Rand sales are up for the first time since the 2010 World Cup and prices in Cape Town are down by 17 per cent compared with last January.
United Arab Emirates – Abu Dhabi has joined Dubai in offering affordable luxury to UK holidaymakers.
Vietnam – 2013’s biggest success can expect to build on its popularity over the past two years as more luxury resorts open in Vietnam. Direct flights to Vietnam last year and the new Etihad service to Saigon this year will increase capacity.
And destinations on the radar?
Burma, Qatar and the Philippines are ones to watch. Burma continues to welcome international visitors, a process that started in 2012.
Qatar is continuing to invest heavily in tourism and is becoming a popular stopover destination for the Indian Ocean and Far East.
Philippine Airlines’ flights from London Heathrow to Manila started last November and return fares from £600 were snapped up by intrepid travellers.