IRISH TOURIST PRICES & EUROPEAN COST SURVEYS
In recent times, the strength of the Euro against both Sterling and the Dollar has been a serious problem for Ireland’s competitiveness. The weakness of the US dollar has made Ireland 20% more expensive for Americans and the fall in the value of sterling has increased Irish prices more than 10% for British visitors.
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Ireland is second to Norway in a cost survey of 12 holiday destinations. However from our own experience, a tourist in Dublin is likely to pay less for a comparable lunch than in central Paris. A half litre of beer such as Carlsberg in a typical Paris brassiere can cost up to €9 ($11), compared with €4.70 in Dublin. On the food side, the pub lunch in Dublin is much better value than the typical lunch in Paris. An espresso coffee typically costs about 15% more in Paris.
In a survey that was
published in May 2004, Ireland was ranked
behind Norway as the the second most-expensive place to take a holiday.
The prices of 13 holiday items such as sun cream, camera film, meals and
refreshments in 12 different countries were compared.
The UK consumer magazine Holiday Which? published a survey of costs in 21 European holiday destinations, in early 2004. Malta, Turkey and the Czech Republic were the lowest cost destinations, followed by Spain, Portugal and Greece.
The survey compared costs of items such as accommodation, meals out, car hire, petrol and general sundries like sun cream, bottled water and camera film.
"You'll need pockets as deep as a Norwegian fjord in northern Europe, while in eastern and southern countries even paupers can live like princes," according to the report. However, there are some surprises - cheap camera film in Denmark, pricey sun cream in Portugal and expensive car hire in Croatia.
Taking all the surveyed price categories into account - collected from the capital city of each country or another major tourist city where appropriate - the dearest country by far is the UK, mainly due to the exorbitant cost of staying in London. Next most expensive are the Scandinavian countries, followed by Switzerland, France and Croatia. If the cost of accommodation is removed, the UK gets a fourteenth place - just below average, leaving Norway as the most expensive country.
At the other end of the scale, if you are going on a package trip, for example, and exclude their cheap hotels, Turkey isn't such a good deal and Malta also fades a little, leaving Spain as the best buy for a budget independent break.
The report compares prices for each country in six categories, highlighting the three cheapest and three most expensive countries in each.
Hotels: The average prices across all 21 surveyed countries for a standard double hotel room for one night in high season including bed and breakfast and tax in the capital city are £45 (budget), £75 (mid-range) and £160 (luxury).
Turkey is cheapest for all three at £20, £40 and £75 respectively, followed by Hungary at £30, £55 and £90, Malta at £30, £45 and £110, and Portugal at £40, £85 and £120.
Most expensive are the UK at £110, £210 and £365, France at £40, £60 and £250, Denmark at £50, £90 and £195, and Switzerland at £70, £95 and £170.
Dining out: A three-course meal for two people in a mid-range restaurant in the capital, sharing a bottle of house wine and a bottle of water, including tax and service will set you back an average of £39 across Europe and £73 in London.
The best deal meals in the Czech Republic (£15), Hungary (£21) and Spain (£22), while at the upper end are Denmark (£67), Norway (£62) and Ireland (£60).
Fast food: The report uses a price comparison for a McDonald's Big Mac, costing £1.94 in the UK and an average of £2 across Europe, as a fair yardstick. The burger product is identical no matter where you buy it, yet prices vary from lows of £1.01 in Poland, £1.26 in the Czech Republic and £1.47 in Hungary to a high of £2.69 in Denmark.
Car hire: Holiday Which? looked at the average week's rental of a small car, rounded up or down to the nearest £5, including insurance, collision damage waiver, unlimited mileage and local taxes, pre-booked from the UK and collected at the airport. The average price across Europe was £180.
Cars come cheapest in Spain (£120), Portugal (£120), Greece (£125), Cyprus (£130) and Germany (£130), but are fearsomely expensive in Norway (£375) and well over the average price in Croatia (£255), Denmark (£235), Poland (230), Turkey (£230) and the Czech Republic (£195).
Petrol: Prices vary significantly for a litre of unleaded petrol, which averages 68p across Europe and costs 77p in the UK, according to the AA.
You'll pay just 50p in Cyprus, 55p in Poland, 57p in the Czech Republic, 58p in Greece and 60p in Spain while, at the other end of the price range, it will cost you 76p in Belgium, 77p in Norway, 78p in Italy, 79p in Germany, 81p in Denmark and a whopping 85p in the Netherlands.
Sundries shopping: To compare like with like, the survey chose five well-known brands - a 200ml bottle of Nivea suncream, a can of Coca-Cola, a 1.5 litre bottle of Evian water, a large tube of Pringles and a 24-exposure Kodak film - and added 10 postcards and stamps for postage within Europe to the basket of shopping.
Overall, eastern and southern European countries were found to be the cheapest, with Scandanavia the most expensive and the UK roughly in the middle. Film is generally cheaper abroad, though Malta is noticeably more expensive, while Denmark, for once, was one of the cheaper options. Soft drinks are cheap in France, but extremely pricey in Scandanavia.
German postage rates have fallen since the last Holiday Which? survey two years ago, but Norwegian stamps were the dearest by some way.
This bag of shopping cost least at £12 in the Czech Republic, followed by £13 in Turkey and £16 in both Greece and Germany and £17 in Hungary, Italy, Poland and Spain.
You would pay £18 in Belgium and Croatia, £19 in Malta, Portugal and the UK, and £20 in Austria, Cyprus, France, Ireland and the Netherlands. But you'd need to cough up £23 in Switzerland, £26 in Denmark and £27 in Norway.
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