Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 July 2014

Sunnyside up for holidaymakers as prices at tourist hotspots cool down

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Northern Ireland people holidaying abroad will get better value for money this year as prices plummet in popular resorts.

Even though sterling has taken a pounding against the euro, the cost of spending in parts of Europe has fallen dramatically.

Best value for money is Portugal, followed by Spain, out of a total of 20 destinations surveyed, while the most expensive place to holiday this year is Dubai.

Prices have been falling in many European resorts because of the effects of the eurozone crisis as they compete with each other for overseas custom to boost their ailing economies.

It means meals out, drinks and self-catering groceries will be significantly cheaper, according to the Post Office Holiday Costs Barometer.

The new research shows prices in Spain have dropped by up to 20% since last year, while the Algarve in Portugal has seen a 15% slump.

In a close-run race, Portugal just pipped the Costa del Sol in Spain to the top spot in the seventh annual travel money league, thanks to low prices for meals and drinks.

It was closely followed by Spain’s Costa Blanca, Bulgaria and Palma Nova in Majorca in the top five cheapest holiday list.

The barometer is based on the costs of 10 standard items comprising coffee, beer, wine, cola, water, suncream, newspapers, insect repellent, cigarettes and a meal.

In the Algarve, the cost of a basket of goods is now £46.34 compared to £46.50 on the Costa del Sol and £47.14 on the Costa Blanca.

Holidaymakers will also get more bang for their buck if they go to Sharm el Sheik in Egypt as prices are down 17% from last year, meaning the 10 items will now cost £62.83.

Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money said being flexible about your sunshine destination could save you a small fortune.

“The pound may be worth less in Europe than a year ago but fierce competition means that lower prices in several of the resorts we surveyed can easily offset the falling value of sterling,” he said. “Taking some time to check out resort costs and add them to package prices to find the best overall deal will pay dividends this summer.”

In America, even though sterling is 4.1% weaker than last year against the dollar, holidaymakers heading to Orlando, Florida, will find prices much lower in the theme park capital, where the 10 typical holiday purchases surveyed now cost 21.2% less than in 2012 (£58.16).

Tuscany and Sorrento continued to be the most expensive European resorts surveyed — more than twice the price of the four best value destinations at £94.92 and £101.79 respectively. The most expensive resort on the list was the Jumeirah region of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, where the items cost £103.23.

Mr Brown said consumers should allow time to buy foreign currency before leaving home because changing money at the airport means losing out by getting a poor rate.

“With the continuing volatility of sterling, holidaymakers should budget carefully and take enough spending money to cover all the costs they are likely to incur while abroad,” he said.

How the price of a basket of 10 items has changed

1. Portugal, Algarve, £46.34 (Down 14.9%)

2. Spain, Costa del Sol, £46.50 (Down 20%)

3. Spain, Costa Blanca, £47.14 (Down 20%)

4. Bulgaria, Sunny Beach, £47.32 (Up 3.4%)

5. Majorca, £55.46 (Down 8.8%)

6. USA, Orlando, £58.16 |(Down 21%)

7. Turkey, Marmaris, £58.84 |(Up 2.6%)

8. Italy, Tuscany, £94.92 ( = )

9. Italy, Sorrento, £101.79 |(Up 31.7%)

10. Dubai, Jumeirah, £103.23 (Up 66.1%)

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