Belfast Telegraph

Consumer: The value holiday hotspots

By Claire McNeilly

If you’re planning a holiday this year you might want to know how far your pound will go across the globe... the good news is we’ve done all the hard work for you.

Portugal has beaten the traditional summer favourite Spain when it comes to offering the greatest value for money this year.

That’s according to the Post Office’s annual Holiday Money Report, which compares the cost of eight essential purchases including a restaurant meal, suncream and drinks in 44 different destinations.

The average total cost of the eight items was just over £35 in Portugal’s Algarve, making it the most cost-effective short-haul option for Northern Ireland holidaymakers AND Europe’s cheapest destination for the first time since 2010.

Compare that with over £40 in Turkey, more than £72 in Egypt and over £115 in New Zealand for an identical basket of goods.

Of the 44 destinations to feature in the survey only Bali — where the eight items cost just over £31 on average — provides better value for those travelling from the UK.

Paul Havenhand, head of travel at the Post Office, said holidaymakers will be spoilt for choice this year with better value for money in most destinations worldwide.

“To cash in on this UK tourists should do their homework before booking to find out where the pound is worth most and where resort costs are low,” Mr Havenhand said.

Spain is the only eurozone country surveyed to register a significant price rise, with a 22% surge in meal costs on the Costa del Sol pushing eight typical tourist items to around £39.

The hike means a fall for Spain from joint first place last year to a current sixth position ranking.

Sterling’s slow climb back to strength against most holiday currencies means the forecast is looking much brighter for UK tourists planning trips abroad in 2014.

In the eurozone Portugal is not the only destination surveyed where prices for UK tourists are lower than in previous years.

Resorts in Cyprus (Paphos), Greece (Corfu) and Italy (Sorrento) are also cheaper, although Italy remains most expensive both in the eurozone and in Europe overall. Fashionable Croatia is one of 10 Post Office holiday hotspots for 2014, and Bulgaria’s Sunny Beach has risen to fifth cheapest.

Further afield, Vietnam is named one of the 10 hotspots for a third year, alongside exotic South Africa.

For long-haul travellers, the Post Office has tipped Burma, Qatar and the Philippines as emerging destinations to watch.

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