Cape Town named best value long-haul destination

Cape Town named best value long-haul destination

Bali has been overtaken by Cape Town as the cheapest of 34 long haul resorts and cities is a new survey of holiday costs.

Echoing last year’s results, Jumeirah Beach, Dubai was the most expensive destination at £199.34 – more than four times the price for the same tourist items in Cape Town.

At £48.89 for a ‘basket’ of 10 tourist items, including meals and drinks, the South African city was significantly cheaper than Bali at £62.56, where the cost of eating out has soared by more than 50% in the past 12 months.

As a result, tourist prices are now 28% higher than in Cape Town, according to the annual long haul holiday report compiled by Post Office Travel Money.

Cape Town proved the clear winner in the ninth Post Office survey, based on prices researched by long haul tailor-made operator Travelbag,

But while local price rises of 30% in Bali will compound the impact of the weak pound, competition between shops, restaurants and bars in Tokyo has reduced local prices in the Japanese capital and cushioned the effect of a 24% surge in the yen’s value against sterling.

At £63.87, Tokyo remains third cheapest in the value chart but an 8% fall in local prices means that Tokyo is now challenging Bali for second place.

Although tourist costs are up by an average of a quarter across all destinations once the sterling exchange rate has been factored in, Tokyo is among the 40% of resorts and cities surveyed where local prices have fallen below last year’s levels to cushion the negative impact of the falling pound.

These include Orlando, where a marginal fall of 1% in shops and restaurants means that prices are 12% higher than a year ago after the exchange rate is applied - half the overall average rise across the destinations surveyed.

At £79.76 for a basket of 10 items including meals and drinks, Orlando has entered the best value top ten in ninth place - the highest ranking in three years.

Washington DC at £142.22 was most expensive of six US destinations surveyed – 78% higher than Orlando.

Cancun at £74.26 is up to sixth place in the list of best value long haul resorts on the back of a relatively weak Mexican peso, just behind Kenya’s Mombasa coastline (£69.41) and Colombo in Sri Lanka (£70.61), and ahead of Phuket in Thailand (£75.72).

Mexico’s most popular resort has led a Latin-American charge in which Lima, Peru (£78.52), a new introduction to the 2016 survey, has entered the top 10 in eighth place, while Tamarindo (£87.03) in Costa Rica was 12th placed in the barometer of tourist costs.

Along with South Africa, Peru and Costa Rica were among ten 2016 hotlist predictions made by the Post Office in its annual holiday money report in January.

Since then, sales of the Costa Rican colon have risen by 46% to make it this year’s second fastest growing currency. Peruvian nuevo sol sales have also grown 19% year-on-year.

In both cases the introduction of direct flights from the UK is likely to have boosted demand and news that resort prices offer good value should help to attract more UK holidaymakers.

All three Latin-American destinations eclipsed the six Caribbean resort areas surveyed for the report.

Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic was cheapest in 15th place with a cost of £91.24 for the 10 tourist staples. St Lucia, Jamaica, Barbados and Antigua were far more expensive. At £157.60, English Harbour in Antigua was 73% pricier than Punta Cana.

Grand Baie in Mauritius at £83.70 made the top 10 for the third consecutive year – proof that the island’s claim to offer ‘affordable luxury’ is well placed, accoriding to the report. Prices in Grand Baie are down 16% on the costs that UK holidaymakers would have faced five years ago.

Andrew Brown, of Post Office Travel Money, said: “Costs may be higher in long haul holiday resorts this year for UK travellers but the good news is that local price cuts in many of the most popular ones will help to lessen the impact of the weaker pound.

“More than ever before, it will pay dividends to do some holiday homework before booking to find out where meals and drinks are cheapest. This can make a big difference to the overall cost of a holiday.”

Intelligence from Travelbag provides evidence that a combination of good value packages and affordable prices for local tourist goods once holidaymakers arrive in their destination is driving holiday bookings. The specialist operator cites South Africa, Bali, Phuket and Mexico as destinations that are growing in popularity for this reason.

Head of product and commercial, Oliver Lomas, said: “Whilst eager to get the best deal when booking their holiday, our customers are keen to travel to destinations where they can make the most of their spending money when they arrive.

“We have seen an increase in bookings to destinations like Thailand and Mexico where rates for local tourist goods have stayed low. Over the last 12 months, holidays to Bali and Phuket have seen a steady increase, with bookings up 39% and 28% respectively year on year.”

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