Holiday costs tumble as resorts compete for business

Holiday costs tumble as resorts compete for business

Prices in Spanish mainland resorts are down by up to 20% and almost 15% in the Portuguese Algarve, according to new research out today (Monday).

Costs have plummeted in many popular overseas destinations despite sterling being worth 4.5% less than in April 2012, this year’s Post Office Holiday Costs Barometer reveals.

Less than £1 separates the four cheapest destinations as Portugal emerged as having the cheapest prices for a range of holiday items, thanks to low prices for meals and drinks.

However, the 10 holiday items measured in the Post Office Travel Money study cost just 16p less in the Algarve (£46.34) than in Torremolinos on the Costa del Sol (£46.50) and only 80p less than in Javea, on the Costa Blanca (£47.14).

Tumbling resort prices in the Costas – down 19% year on year in the Costa del Sol and 20% in the Costa Blanca – helped Spain move to within a few pence of Portugal.

Fierce competition to attract back UK holidaymakers put a gap of £8-9 between the top four resorts and fifth-placed Majorca (£55.46), where prices have fallen 8% in a year.

But visitors to Menorca (£88.22) can expect to pay 59% more than in neighbouring Majorca (£55.46). The high cost of eating out – over double the price of a three-course meal with drinks in Majorca – accounted for most of the difference.

Sunny Beach, Bulgaria (£47.32) was the fourth least expensive resort despite a 3.4% rise in local prices but remained within 98p of top-placed Albufeira in the Algarve.

Even though sterling is 4.1% weaker than last year against the US dollar, holidaymakers heading to Orlando, Florida will find prices much lower in the theme park capital.

Ten typical holiday purchases surveyed for the Holiday Costs Barometer - a three-course meal, cup of coffee, bottle of beer, glass of wine, soft drink, bottled water, suncream, insect repellent, cigarettes and newspaper – cost 21.2% less than in 2012 (£58.16).

Princes in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el Sheikh because prices are over 17% lower than a year ago at £62.83.

Egypt was the only country surveyed where sterling has strengthened this year – by 10.2% – and a 9.4% drop in local Red Sea resort prices will help boost that benefit. But competitor Dubai, highest-priced in the survey at £103.23, was 64% more expensive.

Prices have fallen by 5.2% in Split (£70.84), a strong incentive for the increasing numbers of UK holidaymakers now choosing Croatia.  The destination’s growing popularity led to an increase of over 40% in Post Office Croatian kuna sales last year.

Although resort prices have fallen by around 6% in Corfu (£64.45) – equating to an overall drop of 1.7% once the sterling-euro exchange rate is factored in - the barometer basket was 8.7% cheaper in Marmaris (£58.84). 

However, people who choose to holiday in Bodrum, another popular Turkish resort, will find themselves paying over 53% more for the same holiday items (£90.15).

Prices were uniformly high in Italy, with Tuscany at (£94.92) and Sorrento (£101.79) being the most expensive European resorts surveyed – more than twice the price of the four best value destinations.

In the UK neither Blackpool (£65.96) nor Bournemouth (£78.01) made it into the top half of the barometer.  However, bargain-hunters staying in the UK this year will find the northern resort 15% cheaper than the south coast destination.

Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money said: “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.

“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.  This really is the year to do some ‘sterling’ work before booking a holiday: be prepared to swap destination or switch to a cheaper resort within the same country.”

He added: “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.

“Running out of cash and having to use an overseas ATM or pay on a card that incurs extra charges could pack an unpleasant punch when the bank or credit card statement arrives. Allow time to buy foreign currency before leaving home because changing money at the airport means losing out by getting a poor rate.”

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