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Turkey set to sizzle with Brit tourists this half-term holiday

19th October 2009 Print

Turkey - one of the most popular destinations for Brits in 2008 - was a firm favourite again this summer. The Turkish lira was the third most popular selling currency in Q2 and Q3 behind the Euro and US dollar, according to the M&S Q3 Travel Money Report.

James Yerkess, M&S Travel Money Manager, said: ‘The increased strength of the euro against the pound means that holidaymakers have been looking at destinations outside the eurozone. Egypt and Turkey, for example, have become increasingly popular among Brits.

‘Families looking for a value-for-money holiday destination this half-term should consider Turkey. The Turkish lira is one of the few currencies against which the pound has held its value since last year, meaning tourists heading to Turkey will still see their cash go further.'

Thailand and Hong Kong among long-haul favourites

Thailand continues to be a popular long-haul destination for 2009. Sales of the Thai baht increased by 17% in Q3 compared to the same period in 2008.

The Thai government has been working to boost tourism in the country following a series of recent setbacks, including the 2004 tsunami.

Recent measures to attract visitors include a government decision to extend the exemption on fees for tourist visa applications until 4 March 2010. The exemption applies to visa applications made on arrival at all international airports and at Thai embassies.

British passport holders arriving by air may enter Thailand for up to 30 days without obtaining a visa in advance of arrival.

James Yerkess, M&S Travel Money Manager, said: "The image of Thailand as a tourist destination has been impacted by events in recent years, but our sales figures show that it remains a popular long-haul destination for many British holidaymakers. For those looking for a relaxing break in the sun this autumn and winter, Thailand remains a good-value option."

Another popular destination in Q3 was Hong Kong, with sales of the Hong Kong dollar increasing by 22% in the quarter compared to the same period in 2008. The Hong Kong dollar was the sixth most popular selling currency.

According to the Hong Kong Tourism Board, there were 2.8million visitors to the former British colony in August - a 5.8%increase on August 2008. There was a 10.4% increase of visitors from Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Brits head to Jamaica for Caribbean sun

Sales of the Jamaican dollar increased by 24% in Q3 compared to the same period last year. The increase follows strong sales performance for the currency in the previous two quarters.

The Caribbean island reported a 3.4% increase in tourist arrivals from January to June compared to the same period last year. While the majority of the 971,000 visitors were from the US, the island is a popular destination for British tourists.

Jamaica is hoping that the success of the country's athletes on the international stage, led by sprinter Usain Bolt, will prove a further boost to the nation's tourism industry. In August the country's tourism minister announced that the national tourist board would look to strengthen links between sport and tourism.

Holidaymakers planning a break in Jamaica this autumn will find their money goes further than last year - Brits will get 17% more dollars compared to last October.

The Foreign Office warns British tourists planning to visit Jamaica to monitor weather reports during the hurricane season, which runs from June to November.

Brits urged to head to Poland before the 2012 rush

Couples looking for a romantic city break on a budget should consider Poland this autumn - Brits will get 6% more Polish zloty compared to last October. Poland has increased in popularity as a destination for short breaks, particularly since joining the European Union in 2004.

Polish tourism will receive a further boost in 2012 when the country hosts the UEFA European Football Championships. Poland, which co-hosts the tournament with Ukraine, will welcome thousands of fans to the cities hosting matches, including Warsaw, Gdansk and Krakow.

James Yerkess, M&S Travel Money Manager, said: "Flights to Poland are available at several UK airports and it only takes around two and a half hours to reach the capital Warsaw. With Poland remaining outside the eurozone, once you arrive you will find everyday items are relatively good value compared to some of the more popular short break destinations such as Italy and Spain."