Holiday currency sales surge past pre-pandemic levels

Britons are buying holiday currency at “far higher levels” than pre-pandemic times, according to the Post Office Travel Money Index.

Its report for January-March 2022 reveals sales for most currencies have been accelerating since the start of the year.

Fourteen of the Post Office’s bestselling currencies – including the euro and US dollar – have surged past their healthy sales levels of two years ago and the index highlighted “extraordinary growth” for Croatia and the Caribbean islands.

Purchases of the Croatian kuna (pictured) are up by 137% for the first quarter of 2022 compared with the same period in 2020.

Caribbean currencies have also seen high levels of growth – most notably the Barbados dollar and Jamaican dollar, whose sales have soared by more than 100% compared to the first quarter of 2020.

The Mexican peso is up 91% and East Caribbean dollar up 89%, which the Post Office says suggests that holidaymakers will be heading to destinations such as Cancun, St Lucia, Antigua and Grenada.

More: Croatia eases Covid restrictions

Post Office’s currency sales see ‘green shoots of recovery’

Nick Boden, Post Office head of travel money, said: “We are used to seeing a spring surge in sales of the Croatian kuna, but the rise in March was unprecedented, indicating that Croatia is set to have another highly successful year.

“We have also seen an extraordinary rise in sales of Caribbean and Central American currencies in 2022.

“It suggests that pent-up demand is resulting in many Britons planning holidays of a lifetime to some of the world’s most aspirational destinations.”

The euro remains the most popular currency for British holidaymakers with sales in March more than double those in January. US dollar sales rose 85% in March compared with January.

The Post Office also reported on the strength of sterling, which is up against 70% of bestsellers since April 2020.

The biggest two-year gain of more than 115% is against the Turkish lira, giving Brits more than £268 more cash on a £500 transaction.

There are also sizeable sterling gains of over 20% against the Mauritius rupee, Costa Rican colon and Japanese yen since 2020.

The Post Office Holiday Money Index also reports on the cost of meals and drinks in destinations.

Prices in Marmaris, Turkey, are far lower than in any other destination because of the weak lira. Elsewhere, prices have fallen by 13% since 2020 in Orlando.

Boden commented: “Holidaymakers who are still considering where to book should take resort costs into account because our Holiday Costs Barometer research found big variations in the cost of meals and drinks.

“Turkey is cheapest by far but, across the Atlantic, price falls in Orlando make it an attractive choice – especially for families – and summer sun bargain hunters are likely to find Costa Rica and Jamaica the best value at less than half the cost of Barbados. Travelling east, Mauritius also looks great value.”

Picture by Kamil Zajaczkowski/Shutterstock

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