Wednesday, 24 April 2013 10:30 AM
American Express has today identified three of the top holiday destinations for Britons in the first quarter of 2013, based on currency purchases.
Brits looking to escape the dire weather have looked to Egypt and Thailand for some much-needed sun, whilst Iceland has also emerged as a surprise favourite in the early months of 2013.
The Thai baht, Egyptian pound and Icelandic krona all showed significant gains in popularity when compared to the same time last year in the American Express Currency Index.
Terry Perrin, Director at American Express Foreign Exchange Services, said: “The start of 2013 saw some of the coldest temperatures recorded in the UK and as the American Express Currency Index shows, some Brits have been lucky enough to escape to warmer climates. They have sought out tropical temperatures of Thailand and warm Egyptian sun as an alternative to our wintery weather, and explored new destinations such as Iceland.”
So far this year, the Thai baht has risen two places in the American Express Currency Index compared to the first quarter of 2012 and is now sixth in the table.
Thailand offers great value for money against the pound, with the Tourism Authority of Thailand predicting arrivals to rise to 24.5 million in 2013.
Tourism in Iceland has boomed in 2013 and sent the krona up the American Express Currency Index to 18th position, three places up from last year.
Iceland saw a 36 per cent increase in tourists for the first two months of 2013, compared to the same time last year – a new record for Icelandic tourism.
The increase can, in part, be explained by the surge in visits to see the Northern Lights, which is at its most vivid during the Solar Maximum of 2013.
After a tough couple years for Egyptian tourism, visitors are once again looking to the land of the Nile as a destination of choice. Egypt recorded a 17 per cent rise in tourists in 2012 and a 13 per cent increase in income generated.
The Egyptian pound is also performing well in the Currency Index, holding on to fourth place, as per Q1 2012.
Another currency maintaining a healthy position in the table is the Mexican peso. By the end of 2012 the peso had risen back to fifth place and shows signs of increasing popularity.
Terry Perrin concludes: “At the end of 2012 we highlighted the impressive growth of the Mexican Peso and this trend has continued with Mexico still proving to be popular with tourists.
“Other currencies to watch out for over the coming months will be the Turkish Lira, which fell three places in the first three months of the year, but is yet to hit its peak tourist season. We also saw increased amounts of the United Arabs Emirates Dirham being purchased last year, so it will be interesting to see how this currency performs in 2013.”
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