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Winter sun forecasts good for Vietnam, Brazil and Mexico

12th September 2012 Print

As a new term signals both the end of the school holidays and the start of the winter sun season, Vietnam has emerged as the summer's biggest success story in Post Office Travel Money's Fastest Growing Currencies report for June-August. The annual review reveals year-on-year growth of 68 per cent in currency sales - suggesting a boom in Vietnam holidays, fuelled by the introduction of direct flights last December and a host of new beach resorts.

If the forecasts look good for Vietnam as the long haul holiday season gets underway, they look equally promising for Brazil and Mexico, which have spearheaded another surge in demand for Latin America.  Sterling now buys 25 per cent more Brazilian real than a year ago, making the destination significantly cheaper and helping to account for the 66 per cent growth in currency sales reported by the Post Office for the summer months.

Mexico also managed to maintain the momentum that saw it hit the holiday top spot last year with a 144 per cent growth in Post Office currency sales.  This summer the country has built on that success with a further year-on-year increase of 40 per cent - accelerating to 54 per cent in August.  Its prospects in the months ahead look good as more flight choice is likely to lead to greater competition for bookings.

Not to be outdone, destinations in Eastern Europe also appear to have attracted significantly more visitors this year.  While euro sales have been buoyant throughout the summer, Post Office currency trends indicate that the big growth in demand has been for beach resorts in Croatia and Bulgaria as well as for destinations like Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland, which attract visitors to cities rated best value in the latest Post Office City Costs Barometer (April 2012).

Hungary has seen the biggest shift in fortunes. Set against the backdrop of a powerful pound, which for much of 2012 has been over 20 per cent stronger than a year ago against the Hungarian forint, Post Office Travel Money reports that sales of the currency grew by 59 per cent between June and August.  The rise in demand accelerated to 76 per cent in August, suggesting that Budapest may have a buoyant autumn with the attraction of Christmas markets to stimulate visits.

Croatia has had another record year, moving into the Post Office top 10 bestsellers list for the first time at number seven with year-on-year growth of 42 per cent for the year to date.  Summer sales of the Croatian kuna have more than doubled over the past three years, making this the only currency to have featured in the Fastest Growing Currencies report for four consecutive years.

Andrew Brown, Post Office Head of Travel Money, said: "It may be no coincidence that the destinations which have notched up big increases in currency sales during the summer have been ones where sterling has most surged in value.  Gains of over 20 per cent compared with 12 months ago have been commonplace in Eastern Europe and Latin America.  The boom in demand suggests that holidaymakers are becoming increasingly canny and watching exchange rates as well as seeking out keenly-priced packages before deciding on their destination.

"Looking ahead, the strength of sterling suggests that European short breaks could enjoy a renaissance this autumn - especially to cities with a reputation for value.  Similarly, we expect to see continuing strong demand for emerging Far East destinations like Vietnam and Korea and for the Latin American countries.

"However, holidaymakers should ensure they do not lose out by getting a poor exchange rate if they wait to change money at the airport.  They should buy currency in advance or take a pre-paid card like the Post Office Travel Money Card Plus."