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THE QUIDS ARE ALRIGHT; Pound power will boost most holidays abroad this year, reports Nigel Thompson.

Byline: Nigel Thompson

Get a whole lot more hol for your money in 2014 as sterling gives foreign currencies a pounding, at long last, and local resort prices tumble. The quid's had a slow climb back to strength against most overseas currencies, which means the financial forecast is much brighter for millions of UK tourists.

According to the eighth annual Post Office Travel Money report on holiday cash, pound power, combined with resort price drops - led mainly by cheaper tourist meals - means we could have up to 32% more spending power this year.

It looked at 44 favourite destinations for its Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer and found prices down in 70% of them.

To get a comparison of costs, it collated the prices of eight typical tourist purchases - three-course meal for two with wine, a cup of coffee, bottle of local beer, can of cola, glass of wine, bottle of still water, suncream, and a packet of cigarettes.

These were added together to create a "basket" price total (see our table of 14 selected popular resorts, below).

The barometer reveals that an 18% local price plunge has helped Portugal's Algarve edge past Costa del Sol to become Europe's cheapest destination with a basket of PS35.37, beating the Spanish figure by PS3.77 - despite the pound being slightly weaker year-on-year against the euro (-1.9%).

Elsewhere in the eurozone, it's good news, too, with Cyprus (Paphos, PS46.51) and Greece (Corfu, PS48.37) falling in price against last year.

Outside the euro, Turkey's hot to trot with the lira at a five-year low against sterling - Britons will pocket an extra 21% more cash than a year ago - and the basket for Marmaris weighed in at PS40.87.

Bulgaria's Sunny Beach is another good spot with local costs down 10% (PS38.46).

The biggest falls, though, are in the long-haul market, with drops of 30-32% in Gambia (Kololi, PS38.38), Japan (Tokyo, PS56.41) and Jamaica (various, PS64).

But Bali emerges as the best value worldwide destination, thanks to the Indonesian rupiah's slump which makes tourist costs 19% cheaper in Kuta than a year ago, at PS31.48.

In May, direct flights from Gatwick to Jakarta with connections to Bali will be launched by national carrier Garuda, giving it another lift.

South Africa is also a 2014 favourite, with no jet lag and UK visitors getting almost 28% more rand for their pound than a year ago, and prices down 17% year-on-year in Cape Town (PS41.81). The USA remains the UK's No1 long-haul choice, despite the Government's swingeing Air Passenger Duty rates and lengthy waits at immigration.

That is unlikely to change, thanks to prices for tourist meals and drinks falling by more than 20% year-on-year in Orlando (PS59.69). New York weighs in at PS74.91.

New Zealand is still on a Hobbit movie tourism high, though you'll need a hoard of riches to rival Smaug the treasure-loving dragon from the film trilogy to visit Auckland - its basket dwarfed the others at PS115.06.

Full report & prices on all 44 destinations at TOP 10 PO 2014 HOT SPOTS 1 Bali (right) 2 Croatia 3 Dominican Republic 4 Portugal 5 South Africa 6 Japan 7 New Zealand 8 Oman 9 United Arab Emirates 10 Vietnam | Ones to watch: Burma, Qatar, the Philippines TOP 10 FASTEST GROWING CURRENCY SALES 2013 1 Vietnamese dong (+94%) 2 Dominican peso oro (+82%) 3 Russian ruble (+53%) 4 New Zealand dollar (+45%) 5 Australian dollar (+40%) 6 Mexican peso (+33%) 7 = Qatar riyal/South African rand/ Trinidad & Tobago dollar (+31%) 10 Croatian kuna (+30%) Figures in brackets show rise over last 12 months.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 11, 2014
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