By Jean Christou
CYPRUS has been listed as one of the top five value destinations for Britons this Easter, according to a new survey by the UK Post Office.
The western Easter is on April 5, followed by the Orthodox Easter the following week.
In the Post Office survey, the island came in third behind the Algarve and the Costa del Sol, and was trailed by Tenerife and Orlando in Florida on the cost of a basket of holiday items with comparative prices for the same time last year.
The basket includes a cup of coffee, a large bottle of local beer, a can of Coke, a glass of wine, an ice cream, and a family meal for four including drinks.
Cheapest was the Algarve at £34.31 in total, down by £8.38 from last year, followed by the Costa del Sol at £35.35, down £6.17 on 2014 and Cyprus at £44.84, down £5.77 on the previous year but still a good £10 more expensive than the first two destinations. In Tenerife the total was £46.09, down £7.33 and in Orlando £68.39, lower by £6.70.
Andrew Brown from the Post Office was quoted in the British media as saying: “Although holidaymakers will get far more travel cash for their pounds in the eurozone, prices vary significantly between resorts, so the best advice is for canny travellers to cherry pick and book a resort where prices are cheapest.
“It will be hard to beat Portugal and Spain but, as the weather warms up, Greece is shaping up to
be great value too. Resorts in Italy and France are more expensive but the good news is that there are big savings for those who want to visit Sorrento or Nice.”
Zacharias Ioannides, Director General of the Cyprus Hotel Association told the Cyprus Mail prices were indeed down on last year.
“We are more competitive,” he said, adding that hoteliers had also offered special deals to their tourism partners. He also said the exchange rate between the euro and the British pound was boosting tourism from the UK.
“The exchange rate is favourable for all eurozone countries and Cyprus is no exception,” said Ioannides.
He said the sector was optimistic about the recovery in source markets like the UK “which has always been our bread and butter”. The UK market has been in decline since 2000 when it peaked at nearly 1.5 million, close to 60 per cent of total arrivals at the time.
Earlier this week, the Cyprus Tourism Organisation indicated that numbers were up from traditional markets such as the UK, Germany and Scandinavian countries as arrivals from Russia were on the decline. It is hoped the boost from these markets will offset an expected 25 per cent drop in arrivals from Russia.
“We are cautiously optimistic for the rest of the summer season,” said Ioannides.