Monday, September 26, 2011

Long-haul destinations 'offer better value for money'

Price falls in far-flung destinations mean that customers travelling long-haul this winter will get better value for money than last year, according to Post Office Travel Money's 2011 Long Haul Holiday Report.

It claimed the sharpest drop in prices was in Sri Lanka, where costs in resorts appear to have plummeted by a third compared with 2010, it said.

The drop, if accurate, would make Sri Lanka 38% cheaper than Thailand, its nearest rival.

However, a spokeswoman for Post Office Travel Money admitted the survey was intended to provide only a "snapshot" of prices in overseas resorts, so it should not be relied upon when advising clients where to book. Far from being an extensive survey, prices were taken from just one resort in each destination, she said.

Nevertheless, Sarah Munro of Post Office Head of Travel Money said things were looking up for British holidaymakers. She added: “After a summer when the weak UK pound bought less holiday cash in Europe, tourists heading further afield for winter sun can look forward to seeing their pounds stretch further in most long haul destinations.

“Resort prices have fallen in two-thirds of the countries we surveyed a year ago and, in addition, sterling has strengthened against 15 of 26 long haul currencies.

"For example, the UK pound will buy over 19% more Kenyan shillings than a year ago and is also stronger against Caribbean and Latin-American currencies.  Holidaymakers visiting the USA, Dubai and Egypt will be quids in too.”

In Sri Lanka, the report claims that a 'basket' of 10 items, including a three-course meal for two with wine, would cost £31.81. A year ago, the barometer spotted what it thought were the first signs of rising costs in the Indian Ocean island but it says its latest findings suggest that competition in resorts has " had a calming effect on prices".

For this year’s barometer, the Post Office surveyed 28 destinations, six more than last year. The most expensive of the new entrants was Vietnam, where the basket of 10 items cost £52.72.

They cost £51.48 in Thailand, where a 6% drop in local prices helped to combat the weak pound, said Post Office Travel Money.

Elsewhere in the Far East, China showed the year’s biggest price rise of 27%, pushing the cost of the essential holiday items up to £116.43, and Hong Kong was most expensive overall (£132.06), despite being 11% cheaper than a year ago.

Other destinations where costs appear to have fallen since last year include South Africa, which is down 27% on a year ago when the FA World Cup pushed up prices.

Long Haul Destination Prices At A Glance:

Caribbean Islands: Prices in the Dominican Republic, surveyed for the first time this year, were cheapest.  At £63.83, its barometer basket cost 44% less than Barbados (£114.44), the most expensive of six Caribbean islands surveyed.

Latin-America: Mexico and Argentina now feature in the long haul barometer top 10 for value, in fourth and eighth place respective but costs have risen 9% in Mexico this year.

Florida: At £83.99, Orlando resort costs were 29% than Miami, where prices rose 18 per cent to £118.86.
Egypt: The combination of a stronger UK pound – up 4.9% against the Egyptian pound – and a 12% drop in local prices means that holiday hotspots like Sharm el Sheikh will be good value this winter. 

By Linsey McNeill
source -

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