Bali and Cape Town offer biggest bang for Brit bucks

Bali, Indonesia Photo: Kenny Teo

The Long Haul report reveals that the two destinations have retained their places as the best value winter sun destinations, despite big price swings up and down in many countries around the world.

The financial figures from Travelbag consider a range of tourist staples, such as meals and drinks, and found that 10 of them have seen prices fall 9 per cent since last year to £40, making it more affordable than Cape Town (£47).

Indeed, the weak Indonesian rupiah has helped with local price falls to make Bali cheaper than a third of the most expensive countries, including Muscat, Oman (£126); Auckland, New Zealand (£133); Singapore (£155) and Dubai (£161).

In Dubai, on the other hand, prices have rocketed by 64 per cent.

The power of the pound against other currencies means there are four new entrants to the Long Haul Report top 10. In Tokyo local price falls have added to an 11 per cent rise in the value of sterling to help Japan move up to 8th place with a barometer basket costing over a third less than last year at £66. Visitors to Mauritius (9th place, £72) will also be far better off because tourist staples are down 24 per cent since last year. And Tobago, cheapest of six Caribbean islands surveyed at £72, has emerged as the 10th best value resort.

This year’s biggest bargain is Tamarindo in Costa Rica (£56) where holidaymakers will find that tourist staples have almost halved in price since 2013. This means Costa Rica, which may benefit from increased interest this winter after achieving a positive profile during the World Cup, has made the biggest leap to reach sixth position in the best value top 10.

However, tourists who think winter sun trips will be cheaper because of sterling’s strength against long haul currencies could be mistaken. While prices have fallen in over a third of the 34 destinations surveyed² for the 2014 report, they have risen in 18 others.

In addition to the hefty price rises in Dubai, the barometer basket has risen 48 per cent in Antigua to just under £118 and visitors to newly-fashionable Vietnam can expect to pay 39 per cent more (£74) in Hoi An than they did in 2013. As a result the city has dropped from third to 13th place in the barometer table and those higher prices could slow the fast level of growth that has seen Vietnamese dong sales quadruple at the Post Office over the past three years.

The underlying cause has been local resort price increases. Out of 32 destinations surveyed for the Post Office Travel Money report last year, local prices have risen in almost two-thirds (63 per cent) of them – although those rises have been cushioned by the impact of the sterling exchange rate, which has seen the pound rise in value against every long haul currency except the Korean won and Malaysian ringgit.

Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money said: “It all adds up to a polarised picture for UK holidaymakers. On the one hand there are great savings to be made in popular long haul resorts and tourists will be ‘quids in’. On the other, people who make the wrong destination choice could fall victim to much increased resort prices and find themselves out of pocket. That’s why it really will pay dividends to do some holiday homework and check prices for meals, drinks and other tourist staples on our website and budget accordingly.”