13th annual Post Office Travel Money Holiday Costs Barometer reveals
the best value summer hotspots (www.postoffice.co.uk/holidaycosts)
Sunny Beach, Bulgaria remains Europe’s best bargain – prices are down 10.7 per cent
The Algarve is cheapest in the eurozone – less than half the price in Sorrento
Prices have dropped year-on-year in three-quarters of resorts, with the biggest fall of over 20 per cent in Limassol, Cyprus
While sterling may remain in a period of flux in the coming weeks, one thing more certain is that bargain-hunting holidaymakers will find their pounds stretch furthest in Sunny Beach, Bulgaria, which is best value of 20 European beach resorts surveyed for the Post Office Travel Money Holiday Costs Barometer. A third cheaper than its closest competitor, the Black Sea resort is also one of 14 beach destinations where prices have plummeted since last spring, despite the pound’s volatility.
At £38.86 for the Post Office barometer basket of nine tourist staples – comprising lunch and evening meals, drinks, suncream and insect repellent – prices are 10.7 per cent lower in Sunny Beach than last year. An evening meal for two with wine will set visitors back around £22, while lunch for two is just over £8 and a cup of coffee weighs in at 70p.As a result, the overall barometer cost in Sunny Beach is under half that in most other resorts.
A price fall of 16.2 per cent has made the Algarve runner-up resort to Sunny Beach, although holiday costs are 48 per cent higher than in Bulgaria at £57.45. However, the Portuguese hotspot is easily the cheapest of 16 eurozone resorts and less than half the price of Sorrento (£143), the most expensive destination surveyed.
The biggest fall of over 20 per cent year-on-year was found in Limassol, Cyprus. As a result, Limassol (£94) has moved up to ninth place from 16th last year to join Paphos (7th, £84) in the Holiday Costs Barometer top 10. Altogether, 14 of the resorts surveyed – over three-quarters of the 18 resorts which also featured in the report a year ago – have seen prices fall.
While sterling is currently stronger year-on-year against the euro and other European currencies, the main factor governing the barometer price falls is competitive pricing in restaurants, bars and shops, which has led to lower resort prices.
Nick Boden, Head of Post Office Travel Money, which accounts for one-in four of all UKforeigncurrency transactions,said: “The extent to which prices have fallen gives us confidence that if they choose wisely, holidaymakers will still find great value and their holiday budget will go a long way in most resorts. The price falls could be an indication that tourist businesses in European resorts are keen to attract UK visitors and will keep costs low to do so.”
In third place, Marmaris (£59) is another bargain bet for UK holidaymakers. Although local costs have risen over 20 per cent, sterling’s strength against the Turkish lira easily outweighs those price rises. Currently, UK visitors will reap the benefit of £107 more in lira when changing £500 – 27 per cent more than a year ago. As a result, the cost of meals, drinks and other staples in Marmaris is down 8.6 per cent, despite the local increases.
Prices vary significantly in Spain. Torremolinos (4th) on the Costa del Sol is by far the cheapest of five resorts surveyed by the Post Office this year. At £66, barometer prices have fallen 8.7 per cent on 2018 levels and are just half those in Ibiza (19th, £132), the highest-priced Spanish destination. In the Costa Blanca Benidorm (£78, new for 2019), is fifth cheapest overall. However, rising prices in neighbouring Alicante (10th, £95) has made it 22 per cent more expensive than Benidorm. In the Balearic Islands Majorca (£97) has moved up to 11th place on the back of an 11 per cent fall in costs and is 26 per cent cheaper than Ibiza.
There are big cost variations between the three Greek resorts surveyed as well. Crete, sixth in the table, is cheapest at £81 for the tourist staples, while tourists visiting either Halkidiki (£101, 13th) on the Greek mainland or Corfu (£104, 14th) can expect to pay over 25 per cent more.
In Croatia, falling prices mean that Porec (£98, 12th) is now a cheaper option than Zadar (£106, 15th). This is because prices have fallen 8.6 per cent in the Istrian Peninsula since last year, while they have risen marginally (+0.7 per cent) further south in Zadar.
Despite recording a 4.7 per cent fall in barometer costs, Sorrento (£143) remains the most expensive of 20 destinations. Further east in southern Italy, Puglia, (£112, 16th, new for 2019) is over 20 per cent cheaper and may offer UK visitors a more affordable holiday option.
Nick Boden said: “There are significant variations between the prices we found in resorts this year so it will really pay dividends to do some holiday homework before booking to avoid busting the budget. Compare the barometer prices for meals, drinks and other tourist staples to find a destination that will offer good value for money.
“Make a list of money-saving holiday rules and stick to them so you don’t overspend. Firstly, take out your holiday cash before leaving home to avoid poor rates at the airport or in ATMs abroad. There are improved Post Office exchange rates for transactions of £500 or more so get enough cash in advance to avoid being charged fees for credit and debit card transactions made abroad. If you prefer to pay with plastic, load cash onto the Post Office Travel Money Card and you won’t pay transaction charges abroad.”
Victoria Bacon, ABTA Director of Brand and Business Development, said: “Europe remains the number one overseas destination for British holidaymakers and this research highlights the amazing value on offer in so many of our holiday favourites. The relative weakness of sterling against the Euro has also meant that increasingly customers are looking for good value in other destinations and ABTA Members are reporting significant interest in travel to Bulgaria and Turkey, with the incredible prices in resort, revealed in this Post Office report, it’s easy to see why.”
The Post Office is the UK’s leading provider of foreign currency, offering euro on demand at over 9,000 branches. Euros can also be ordered online at postoffice.co.uk for same day ‘click and collect’ at selected branches as well as for home delivery or next day collection at any of the 11,500 Post Office branches. Turkish lira can be purchased on demand at over 4,000 branches while Bulgarian lev and Croatia kuna are among 30 leading currencies available without pre-ordering at 1,600 larger Post Office Branches. In total up to 70 currencies can be pre-ordered at any branch or online at postoffice.co.uk/travel for next day branch or home delivery.