Currency sales figures show growing demand for long haul destinations

Currency sales for some long haul destinations have jumped this year so far, figures from Post Office Travel Money show.

Sales of the Japanese yen are up 12% this year so far compared with the same period a year earlier, while sales of the Indonesian rupiah have increased by 9%.

The figures are based on Post Office bureau and online currency purchased for the period January 1 to April 23 2019 compared with the same period in 2018.

Post Office Travel Money said sales of these currencies have increased despite sterling weakening against them over the past year.

But it suggested relatively cheap living costs in some long haul destinations are attracting holidaymakers from the UK, despite the weakened pound.

It said there has also been a 44% year-on-year growth spurt for sales of the Trinidad and Tobago dollar, against which sterling has also weakened over the past year.

The biggest growth in currency sales this year so far has been for the Egyptian pound, which has seen a 687% year-on-year increase, despite sterling also weakening against this currency over the past year.

Consumer research for the currency provider suggests UK holidaymakers are now less concerned about exchange rates than they are about the costs they face once they reach their destination.

Over three-quarters (77%) of over 2,000 people surveyed 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.

Post Office Travel Money, which accounts for one-in-four UK currency transactions, said sterling has held its value in recent months, despite the continuing economic uncertainty.

In the past six months the pound has risen in value against three-quarters of the Post Office’s 40 bestselling currencies, including the euro and US dollar. It is stronger than a year ago against 20 of those bestsellers.

Sterling’s biggest year-on-year gain among the currencies looked at has been against the Turkish lira, giving holidaymakers the equivalent of £128 extra on a £500 currency purchase.

Nick Boden, Post Office head of travel money, said the prices of meals, drinks and other staples in resorts and cities can add significantly to consumers’ holiday costs, so these are becoming an increasingly important consideration.

He said: “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.”