Monday, 6 April 2009 12:00 AM
UK holiday-makers are ditching the eurozone for the so-called ‘Neuro-zone’ – and exchanging their euros for ‘Neuros’ – in an attempt to cut costs on their holidays, according to a new report released today by Travelex.
In light of the strengthening euro and subsequent devaluation of British sterling by 17 percent in the last 12 months, the foreign exchange specialist has identified the ‘Neuro-zone’ (aka the New Euro-zone) – an Index ranking the 10 most popular destinations, outside the Euro-zone based on five core criteria.
These include sales increases, volume of customer enquiries and tourist appeal.
Following its well documented rise in popularity, Turkey tops the list as the most popular ‘Neuro-zone’ destination with Travelex reporting sales of Turkish Lira up 20 per cent compared to last year.
Rather than forking out a budget busting Â£47 for a three-course-meal for two in France, UK holiday makers are opting to pay 64 per cent less at Â£17 in sun-drenched Turkey. Cheap flights to hotspots such as Bodrum from regional airports across the UK are also helping Turkey become ever more popular.
Travelex’s ‘Neuro-zone’ destination index:
- Turkey (Lira)
- Czech Republic (Koruna)
- Egypt (Egyptian Pound)
- Hungary (Forint)
- Croatia (Kuna)
- Dubai (Dirham)
- South Africa (Rand)
- Switzerland (Swiss Franc)
- Poland (Zloty)
- Israel (Shekel)
Challenging Turkey in the popularity stakes are destinations such as Hungary and the Czech Republic which have both experienced a huge surge in consumer demand. Both destinations have been helped by the stag market, with on average, revellers saving as much as Â£200 on a weekend away compared to traditional eurozone destinations such as Dublin.
Just Â£10 in the Czech Republic will buy you up to fourteen pints of local beer compared to Spain where you would be looking at just two to three beers for the same price.
Hungary has also hit the mainstream map and with Â£1.02 a beer and Â£35 a night accommodation, it’s no wonder Brits are by-passing the Euro-zone. Demand for the Forint, has doubled in the past two months alone, taking Hungary to 4th position in the Travelex ‘Neuro-zone’ rankings.
The report highlights that the boundaries of the ‘Neuro-zone’ are extending as far as Egypt, South Africa and UAE destinations, as holiday-makers are prepared to visit a long haul destination if it means better value on arrival. Demand for the Egyptian pound has increased by nearly a fifth in past twelve months and the Dirham is up by 25 per cent year on year.
One of the most surprising entries into the Travelex Destination Index is Israel. Its fantastic night life and rich culture complete with breath-taking scenery and historic buildings have been cited as reasons from Travelex’s customer services team of its rising appeal.
With the average cost of a three-course-meal equivalent to Â£20, Israel only looks set to rise in popularity.
Switzerland is also enjoying resurgence in popularity with orders of the Swiss franc up by nearly a third (30 per cent) in the past twelve months. The country has benefited from the decline in the popularity of the eurozone over the winter months with snow sports enthusiasts choosing the Swiss Alps over other European destinations in spite of its previous reputation as a destination for the rich.
Croatia has also experienced a boost in popularity with enquiries on the currency increasing by a quarter in the past twelve months moving it up the Index rankings from 14th position in March 2008 to 5th in 2009.
Anthony Hudson , UK retail director at Travelex, commented: “Our ‘Neuro-zone’ Destination Index highlights many destinations that were previously viewed as off the beaten track are now challenging mainstream holiday hotspots, as the value of the Pound has fallen significantly over the last year.
“Holidaymakers are also taking the time to look at which currencies are offering them the best return in investment, as with everyone conscious of budgets, holiday-makers are now more than previously looking for a destination that offers them a great break but not at crippling prices.”