Despite belts remaining tightened, 2010 is a year in which 80 per cent of Brits are planning on taking at least one holiday according to a recent report from Thomson. Indeed, as proclaimed by STA travel, this year will see the rise of the two week adventure holiday. According to the group there has been a sharp rise in the number of people planning action-packed two-week breaks, marking a clear departure from the ‘staycation,’ last year’s top travel trend. Commenting on 26th January, as official figures revealed that the country had exited recession, Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO) spokesman Ian Bradley said that travellers who forwent a holiday last year will be keen on heading abroad this year: “Most people will be looking for sun and for value. Places like North Africa and the Middle East will probably give you that…” There is no doubt that ‘value’ will be the operative word for 2010.
Firstly, it goes without saying that destinations outside the eurozone offer the best value on holiday money because they offer the best currency exchange rates. The ‘White Med’ in northern Egypt is especially enticing at present as it’s crystal clear waters, pristine beaches, cultural heritage, and leisure and sport activities are available at excellent value and set to be easily accessible with new direct flights from Gatwick and Manchester commencing on 30th March. Jamaica has become the most affordable long haul destination this year with the pound strengthening against the Jamaican dollar in recent months. Sarah Munro, head of Post Office Travel Services, noted that there has been a 24 per cent rise in sterling against the Jamaican currency in the past 12 months, making the Caribbean country far more affordable to visit. Research from the group also revealed St Lucia to be the most expensive of the top four most popular Caribbean islands. On the other side of the globe, tourists planning a trip down under will get an incredible experience for their money according to Tourism Western Australia. Elen Thomas, UK PR manager for the tourism board, said that resorts in Exmouth and Coral Bay offer great budget accommodation options while still providing the unforgettable holiday experience one would expect from a visit to Australia. “It is still roughly two dollars to the pound and the experience of swimming with such a wide variety of marine life in an area which has remained so pristine and undeveloped is extraordinary,” commented Thomas.
Closer to home, Spain’s position as one of the most popular holiday destinations is unlikely to change while it continues to offer exceptional value for money, Cheapflights.co.uk has claimed. Commenting recently, Francesca Ecsery, global sales director of the price comparison site, said the country’s reliable warm weather, vibrant culture and beautiful natural landscape make it an attractive destination at any price, but its affordability has made it a hugely popular destination for Brits. “Consumers will get the best value on Spanish holidays by being flexible on time, flexible on destination and travelling out of peak season,” she said, adding that by choosing to travel in late summer, holidaymakers could save as much as 70 per cent on ticket prices compared to peak-season costs. According to a recent Post Office Travel Services report, Spain is now the cheapest holiday destination in the eurozone. Balkan countries, such as Croatia and Slovenia, also offer an exciting and cost-effective travel experience. Simon Calder, senior travel editor at the Independent, however identified Albania as a particularly popular destination offering exceptional value for those planning a holiday on a shoestring.
For those looking to get away for a value ski holiday this winter should be looking in the same region. Bulgaria has emerged as a great destination for ski-enthusiasts looking to hit the pistes on a budget. Anthony Chenery, travel expert at Teletext Holidays, said that the winter travel market has suffered in recent years because many view skiing as a secondary holiday and when holiday money is hard to come by it is these trips that are likely to be sidelined. However, he added: “The good news for customers is that operators, to stimulate demand, have been cutting their prices quite significantly, which is great news if you want to go skiing as there are some excellent deals to be had.” In addition to Bulgaria, Andorra was also identified as a leading bargain winter travel destination.
There are therefore plenty of affordable destinations to be enjoyed this year and increasingly so as the pound beings to strengthen against the euro, if rather shakily. In order to get the best value travellers will benefit from taking the time to research foreign currency exchange rates online for their chosen destination and, in so doing, avoid uncompetitive high-street rates.