Pound stretching further abroad

British holidaymakers abroad will see their spending money stretch much further than last year as a result of the sharp rise of sterling against 13 of the 20 leading currencies over the past 12 months, according to new research.

Analysis by the Post Office showed that the pound had gained by up to a third against some popular currencies. Against the Egyptian pound and UAE dirham, sterling will buy 15% more than in January 2009.

The pound has also strengthened against the dollar by around 15% in the past year, although it fell back slightly this week following the Government’s announcement that the economy is growing at a slower rate than expected.

The Post Office said the improvement in sterling’s value has been mirrored by a rise in currency sales. Purchases of Egyptian pounds rose by 9% in 2009, while sales of the UAE dirham were up by 6%. The growing popularity of Egypt and Dubai as mid-haul winter sun destinations has been reflected by a 45% increase in sales of the Egyptian pound and a 205% increase in sales of the UAE dirham since 2005.

“The weaker Egyptian pound, combined with low package prices and costs for tourist staples, should also make Egypt a popular choice in 2010,” said Sarah Munro, head of travel money at the Post Office. “Five-star hotels at three-star prices in Dubai should also boost demand for the Emirate again this year among British tourists, who will have 19% more dirhams in their pockets.”

Against the Caribbean’s leading currencies, sterling has strengthened even further over the same period. Visitors to Jamaica can expect to receive almost 30% more dollars than in January 2009, while those going to St Lucia or Antigua will find the East Caribbean dollar has fallen by 17% against the pound since last year. Sterling will also buy 15% more Barbados dollars.

Source – The Telegraph Feb 2010

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