Monday, September 26, 2011

Sri Lanka tops value destinations

British holidaymakers may be struggling with poor euro exchange rates but some long-haul destinations are proving financially attractive, according to a survey.

Sri Lanka has emerged as a clear winner in a holiday cost-of-living index of long-haul spots compiled by Post Office Travel Money.

For a basket of 10 categories including a meal out, drinks and sun cream, Sri Lanka was 38% cheaper than its nearest rival, Thailand.

Vietnam, now welcoming an increasing number of UK visitors, was the third least expensive country in the list, with Hong Kong the most expensive overall and China showing the biggest price rise over the last year.

Prices in South Africa have tumbled 27%, with the country now more tourist-friendly financially following the price hikes during the 2010 World Cup. Barbados was the most expensive Caribbean destination, with the Dominican Republic the cheapest.

Post Office Travel Money head Sarah Munro said: "Things are looking up for hard-pressed holidaymakers.

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 country 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 a separate survey, tour operator Hayes & Jarvis also revealed year-on-year falls at some long-haul resorts.

Packages in Brazil and Barbados have fallen the most, with particularly good deals to be had in Mexico where direct air links with the UK have strengthened recently.

The company's best-selling long-haul destination is the Maldives, followed by Thailand, but Egypt has yet to bounce back from political upheaval.

Copyright © 2011 The Press Association. All rights reserved.

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