Thailand, Egypt and Iceland have been identified as the top holiday destinations for Britons based on currency purchases in the first quarter of the year.

The Thai baht, Egyptian pound and Icelandic krona all showed significant gains in popularity when compared to the same time last year, according to the American Express Currency Index.

The index is calculated based on volume of currency sold at Amex foreign exchange bureaux and online.

Director Terry Perrin said: “The start of 2013 saw some of the coldest temperatures recorded in the UK and as the American Express Currency Index shows, some Brits have been lucky enough to escape to warmer climates.

“They have sought out tropical temperatures of Thailand and warm Egyptian sun as an alternative to our wintery weather, and explored new destinations such as Iceland.”

He added: “At the end of 2012 we highlighted the impressive growth of the Mexican peso and this trend has continued with Mexico still proving to be popular with tourists.

“Other currencies to watch out for over the coming months will be the Turkish lira, which fell three places in the first three months of the year, but is yet to hit its peak tourist season.

“We also saw increased amounts of the United Arabs Emirates dirham being purchased last year, so it will be interesting to see how this currency performs in 2013.”