Algarve returns to the top

By DAISY SAMPSON [email protected]

For the first time in two years, the Algarve has been rated one of the top 10 most affordable destinations for British tourists and is now considered to be the second cheapest destination within the European Union.

According to figures from the annual Holiday Costs Barometer, produced by the UK Post Office Travel Service, prices have fallen in the region, making it once again one of the most popular choices for British holidaymakers.

European countries topped the barometer, with Bulgaria taking the number one spot, Turkey in fifth, Croatia taking sixth position before Spain in eighth, Portugal in ninth and finally Malta in tenth.

The barometer looks at various costs incurred by tourists when visiting a country, then compares these to create the list.

The greatest indicator used by the barometer is the price of a basket of 10 commodities including the price of a meal for two, sun cream, drinks, postcard with stamp and an English tabloid newspaper.

The cheapest basket was found in Bulgaria, costing 42.23 pounds sterling. However, despite the reputation of Spain being considerably cheaper than Portugal, the basket from the Algarve was only 39 pence more expensive than the Spanish equivalent, costing 67.47 pounds sterling.

The price of a coffee or a bottle of water or lager in Portugal were the lowest surveyed of those countries placed between one and 10 on the barometer and  it was only the cost of sun cream, insect repellent and cigarettes that bumped up the total basket price, showing the economic benefits of holidaying in the Algarve.

Encouraging tourism

Sarah Munro, the head of travel services for the Post Office, said: “The eurozone has taken a bashing this year but our survey suggests that tourist outlets in many resorts are taking dramatic steps to encourage tourists.  Despite the weak pound, this means that UK tourists who shop carefully could find they get more than they expected.”

The most expensive destination in Europe is still France, costing almost 17 per cent more than the Algarve, with Cyprus also proving to be a pricey destination.

Reasons behind the return of the Algarve to the top 10 have been cited as a result of the improvement in the pound to euro exchange rate and the reduction of prices at a local level to proactively encourage tourism.

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