Sterling has achieved its biggest year-on-year gain of 34.3% against the Turkish lira, latest analysis reveals.

This gives holidaymakers £128 extra on a £500 currency purchase, according to Port Office Travel Money.

The pound has risen in value against three-quarters of the Post Office’s 40 bestselling currencies in the past six months, including the euro – up 3.3% compared with October – and US dollar – up 1.3% – and is stronger than a year ago against 20.


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Sterling is also stronger than a year ago against every European currency except the Swiss franc despite continuing economic uncertainty.

However, currency sales up to the Easter bank holiday show that some of the biggest increases have been to long-haul destinations where sterling is significantly weaker than a year ago.

The result came as consumer research found that UK holidaymakers are now less concerned about exchange rates than they are about the costs they face in destination.

Moe than three-quarters (77%) of the 2,087 people polled said resort costs for meals, drinks and other tourist items were a more important factor in destination choice, compared with only 55% who felt that sterling’s strength or weakness was the deciding factor.

Emphasising this finding, the Post Office says the low cost of living in Bali and Japan helps explain a surge in sales of the Indonesian rupiah and Japanese yen.

Sales increases of 9% for the rupiah and 12% for the yen come at a time when both also feature in the ten currencies against which sterling has weakened most year-on-year (by over 4%).

Set against this, Bali and Tokyo are also among the ten best value destinations in the 2019 Post Office Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer – outperforming Thailand and Vietnam, whose currencies have risen against sterling by 4.8% and 4.1% respectively but where local prices are higher.

South Africa as emerged as the country offering the best long haul bargain for budget-conscious tourists. Sterling is worth 9.6% more than in April last year, giving visitors an extra £44 on a £500 rand purchase.

The pound is also stronger against leading Latin American currencies, currently buying over 7% more Brazilian real and 4.3% more Chilean peso than last year.

The biggest growth in currency sales has been for the Egyptian pound, where a 687% year-on-year rise in sales highlights the return of visitors to Egypt’s Red Sea resorts.

But this comes at a time when sterling’s biggest year-on-year fall of 8.8% has been against the Egyptian pound.

Nick Boden, Post Office head of travel money, said: “The evidence suggests that consumers are switching on to the fact that prices meals, drinks and other staples in resorts and cities can add significantly to their holiday cost, so these are becoming an increasingly important consideration.

“Picking a destination where prices on the ground are low can outweigh the impact of a weak exchange rate but a destination where prices are cheap and sterling is strong is the best bet.”

He added: “Irrespective of sterling’s value, the best advice we can give people planning holidays abroad is to do their homework on resort and city costs and set a realistic budget.

“Our research reveals an average overseas spend of over £500 so it makes sense to take advantage of the improved exchange rates offered in our branches and online when you change this amount.

“Changing money abroad could cost more as rates may be poor and charges levied.”

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