By Staff Reporter
DESPITE pinning its hopes on tourism to help beat the economic crisis, Cyprus is still unable to compete with Spain when it comes to the price of a basket of goods, the latest UK Post Office Survey reveals.
A new Post Office Travel Money Self Catering on a Shoestring report, carried out with Cosmos Travel, into the costs of self-catering abroad found that the Spanish destinations surveyed – Costa Blanca, Lanzarote, Menorca and Majorca – were all significantly cheaper than Corfu, Crete, Dalaman in Turkey and Limassol.
In fact, at £97.28 (€113.88), the shopping basket in Limassol – the most expensive destination out of those surveyed – was almost twice as expensive as it was in the Costa Blanca, which clocked in at £48.70 (€57.00).
The survey compared the cost of 20 typical food and drink staples including bread, milk, cereal, cheese, eggs, soft drinks and pizza. Limassol was most expensive for cheese (250g) at £7.16, tomatoes (1kg) at £4.63, toilet paper (one roll) £1.83 and tea bags (40), which cost £2.87.
At £48.70 for the basket of goods, the Costa Blanca just pipped the Algarve (£48.93) as the lowest-priced, while Lanzarote (£53.86), Menorca (£57.97) and Majorca (£68.36) also emerged as good value.
Portugal’s Algarve was the only resort area to spoil a clean sweep for Spain with a weekly shop costing just pennies more than in the Costa Blanca, the Post Office said.
By contrast, the prices researched by Cosmos reps in four popular Eastern Med destinations were much higher. Corfu was the cheapest of these at £74.74, while Crete clocked in at £86.04, Dalaman in Turkey at £87.60 compared to Limassol’s £97.28.
Limassol was also fourth highest on the list for a meal for four with drinks, coming in at £65.50. The most expensive in this category was Majorca at £78.60, and the cheapest was Corfu at £38.81.
The bonus for families travelling this summer is that while sterling is worth around five per cent less against the euro and the Turkish lira than last year, the Post Office report found that prices at the tills have fallen in every Spanish resort surveyed except Majorca. The biggest drops were in the Costa Blanca, Corfu and Lanzarote where their shopping baskets cost around 20 per cent less than a year ago.
Andrew Brown, Post Office head of travel money, said: ‘Although one of the main motivators for booking a self-catering trip is to reduce holiday costs, it is clear that the price of food – either bought in shops or in resort restaurants – is causing many families to break their budget.
‘The best advice is for them to look carefully at resort food prices before they travel and to keep costs to a minimum by doing the weekly shop in a supermarket.’
Gary Anslow, Cosmos’ sales director, added: ‘Demand for self-catering holidays is up this year as people are looking for great value and the flexibility of eating out and drinking in local restaurants, cafes and bars, particularly in Greece where bookings have soared by 20% year-on-year.’
One way that self-catering families seek to save money, the consumer research found, is to stash food in their suitcases. 74 per cent take tea bags while 3-in-5 (61 per cent) carry their own coffee and 50 per cent pack their family’s favourite breakfast cereal.
Anslow said the Greek mainland and islands continued to be a popular choice for travellers from the UK “where you can eat out relatively cheaply in the local tavernas.”
The Cypriot tourism industry was warned by British operators earlier this even before the banking crisis, that as far as British tourism was concerned, price was the main factor in choosing a holiday destination.
Chairman of the Cyprus Hotels Association (PASYXE) Haris Loizides told journalists yesterday they expected bookings for July, August and September to cover the losses recorded over the past two months due to the uncertainty created by the banking crisis in March.
By the end of April this year, tourism was down 12.5 per cent. Loizides said that because of the crisis, hoteliers had come up with a number of deals for their foreign customers amounting to a 20-25 per cent fall in prices.
He also said that in the coming weeks hotels would publicise offers for residents even though they only account for some 7.0 per cent of business per year on average.
Basket of Goods
Costa Blanca, 48.70
Cyprus Limassol 97.28
Meal out for 4 with drinks
Costa Blanca 42.67