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Press Room

Brits Heading to Europe Miss Out on this Summer's Bargain Holidays
(21 July 2005)

Last year British holiday makers spent 7.9 billion* abroad but if more of us deliberately cashed in on the strength of the pound this figure could be drastically reduced according to research by NatWest Travel Money Services.

Europe is the clear favourite holiday destination this summer, with euros making up two thirds of all travel money purchases. However, Europe may not remain our first choice for summer sun if more holidaymakers realised they could slash hundreds of pounds off the price of their trip simply by choosing a destination where the currency has weakened against the pound. According to Robin Cockburn, Head of NatWest Travel Money Services: "The best value destinations right now are Thailand, the US and South Africa (see table below). Compared to five years ago, these destinations now offer up to 20% more currency for your pound.” Surprisingly, in a survey of British holidaymakers only 8% have ever let the currency exchange rate influence their choice of destination.

Those in search of this year's bargain holiday must set their sights further afield as European destinations have become more expensive, current exchange rates now show the cost of buying euros up around 9% since its launch in 2000. Many travellers have realised it pays to head out west, the US dollar now makes up 14% of all travel money orders. A family buying 1,000 worth of spending money for a trip to the US in 2000 would now only have to spend 859 to get the same amount of dollars (a saving of 141). Alternatively, the $249 extra dollars you would receive for 1,000 today would pay for a helicopter trip around New York for a family of four and still leave enough money for lunch at the world famous Katz's Deli.

Similarly, bad timing can contribute to the cost of your holiday. The Czech Republic, a popular budget destination may soon loose its bargain appeal when travellers realise they are paying 30% more to get the same amount of Korunas they would have received in 2000.

Based on Converting 1000

Best Value Currencies
THAI BAHT60.6645873.2935312,628.95172.31
US DOLLAR1.508121.75665248.53141.48
SOUTH AFRICAN RAND10.3778211.840201462.38123.51

Worst Value Currencies
CZECH KORUNA57.1013244.0592913,042.03296.01
SWEDISH KRONA13.8050911.437952,367.14206.95

Notes to Editors:

  • * Overseas Travel and Tourism - Office of National Statistics June 2005
  • This survey was carried out by TNS in May 2005
  • A representative sample of 1,016 British adults were interviewed
  • Currency orders are those taken from NatWest Global Travel Money Services in June 2005
  • Exchange rates shown are an average of mid market rates for the month of June for each year specified. All currencies shown can be ordered through NatWest Global Travel Money Services
  • To order foreign currency or travellers cheques at NatWest, you don't need to hold an account. NatWest Advantage Gold and Premier, student and graduate customers can obtain their currency commission-free
  • Currency can be ordered at any one of our 1,631 branches, where orders are placed before 2pm on a weekday they can be collected from the branch after 1pm the following day
  • Larger branches with a Bureau de Change can immediately supply American Express travellers cheques in sterling, US dollar and Euro along with most major currency notes
  • Those ordering NatWest American Express travellers cheques also have the added peace of mind of a free 24-hour, 365 day a year refund service should they lose or have their cheques stolen.