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Holidaymakers urged to cash in with visit to eurozone


Italy has acted to stem eurozone worries that could hit financial markets

Italy has acted to stem eurozone worries that could hit financial markets

Italy has acted to stem eurozone worries that could hit financial markets

Northern Ireland holidaymakers have been advised to take advantage of a recent dip in the value of the euro by travelling to the continent this summer.

Fears that the eurozone debt crisis could spread further into Italy and Spain meant that yesterday the pound bought €1.13 compared to only €1.10 at the start of the month.

Over the past four years, the pound has fallen by more than 20% against the euro, but with the potential that sterling may climb further amid the panic, travel industry experts have predicted that tourist hotspots will pull out all the stops to attract visitors.

Eurozone finance ministers have agreed to adopt new measures to strengthen the area's resistance to debt problems in Greece, where there have been large public protests against proposed austerity cuts.

Yesterday stocks, the euro and government bonds went into freefall, suggesting investors were increasingly worried Italy will not be able to handle its debts.

Rescuing Italy and Spain - the third and fourth-largest economies in the eurozone - would be too expensive for the EU's rescue funds, and their survival is interdependent on that of the 17-country bloc.

It is also believed that the idea that Greece will be allowed to default on its debts, and the lack of information on how that could affect other countries, including Italy, have prompted the plunge.

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Sean Tipton, from the Association of British Travel Agents, said that despite the pound plummeting in recent years, there are still good deals to be had and it is looking likely that sterling could rise again.

He said that while prices are up overall, places like Italy, France and Spain still offer good value.

"Two years ago the pound plunged in value against the euro and has never really recovered," he said.

"I think holidaymakers would do well to take advantage of the situation and by leaving it too late may miss this chance to capitalise on good deals."

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