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Tuesday October 11, 2016 - Email this article to a friend

At many UK airports £1 won't even buy you €1 as sterling falls. Prices in ski resorts are set to be sharply up on last year but there are ways of keeping costs down.

You may ask why people buy their currency at the airport at all as the rate is usually poor.

But they do and, even though most sensible people buy their foreign currency elsewhere, it is a sign of sterling's weakness overall.

The average rate available at 17 airport bureaux de change is now just 99 euro cents to the pound.

The figures come from survey of airport bureaux de change currency rates and was carried out by the travel money firm, FairFX, on Monday.

The worst rate is currently 88 euro cents at Moneycorp at Southampton airport.

The best is €1.06 from the Change Group at Glasgow Prestwick.

This was the scene at Gatwick airport on Tuesday morning as one of our reporters passed through with sterling below €1 for £1.

It was 0.96. - though at a Moneycorp store in Piccadilly in cental London a reader told us it was 1.08.

Changing currency at Gatwick airportChanging currency at Gatwick airport















Moneycorp at Gatwick airportMoneycorp at Gatwick airport
















"Currency firms operating in airports are known to offer the worst exchange rates down to taking big profit margins and are shockingly offering holidaymakers below one euro to the pound," said the chief executive of FairFX, Ian Strafford-Taylor.

"Unfortunately, if the pound falls even further, rates as poor as this could be seen at airport providers up and down the country - taking advantage of their captive audience of holidaymakers and business travellers," he added.

This was the rate at the Snow Centre in Hemel Hemsptead on Tuesday as a reader reported.

Not so goodNot so good
















Most skiers and snowboarders change their cash in advance, but it is a sign of what they can expect this coming winter.

In-resort costs are likely to be up above 20%.

Last weekend we reported in-depth on where your mountain money will go further - see here for that story. 

Eastern Europe was the cheapest, but there were some good rates and prices to be had in the Alps, notably in Italy.

However there are ways to keep you ski costs down.

For a start there are some very good package deals on offer for early season with £100s off the cost of a ski holiday - see here for all the latest deals in our special section on PlanetSKI.

"This year, due to Brexit and the fall in the value of the pound, many ski companies are offering some excellent deals this season. The best ones on the market have to be the all-inclusive ski deals, which offer excellent value for money," said Amanda Church from Alpine Answers.

Amanda Church, Alpine AnwersAmanda Church, Alpine Answers


Alpine Answers offers holidays from many of the best UK tour operators - see here for further details of its all-inclusive deals.

And here for an overview of the company.

Sales have been affected by Brexit according to the tour operators we have spoken to and trading conditions are described as "difficult".

Many are putting on a brave face in public and trying to talk things up, but the reality is generally somewhat different.

"Sales stopped after the referendum! They are back now, but VOLATILE," was how one ski operator put it to us.

Not everyone is affected though.

Some skiers and snowboarders bought their package holiday ahead of Brexit.

Referendum and the decline in the value of the pound has led to a rise in skiers opting for all-inclusive chalet holidays where costs are controlled.

Package holidays are making a comeback according to research for the Association of British Travel Agents, ABTA.

In 2016 there was a rise of 6% in people taking a package holiday compared to 2015.

It is 10% up in the last 5 years.

Financial protection and having everything taken care of are the main reasons.

"In the current climate, it is not surprising to see people responding to this and looking for the added support, security and convenience of a package holiday," said the ABTA chief executive, Mark Tanzer.

The research also found the growth in package holidays is being driven by the youngest and oldest age groups.

Almost two thirds (63%) of people aged over 65 took a package holiday last year, compared to 47% in 2015.

Over half (55%) of 18-24 year olds took a package holiday abroad in the last 12 months, compared to 46% in 2015.

There is concern within the UK snowsports industry but there is also some optimism, as some skiers and snowboarders simply won't go without their winter fix.

"The volumes are still there, but over the longer term, we will see people looking at prices and saying 'maybe we will stay away from skiing for a year'. But the truth is that the ski market dropped 25% in 2008 and hasn't recovered a lot since then, and what you have now are the people who really love skiing and won't be put off by the currency," said Diane Palumbo from Skiworld to the Guardian newspaper at the weekend.

Diane Palumbo, SkiworldDiane Palumbo, Skiworld
















Here on PlanetSKI we will shortly be having a full-lenth feature on how to keep your ski costs down - whether you opt for a package holiday or go independently.

But the advice we have at the moment is don't buy foreign currency at an airport and look out for the significant deals and discounts on offer!

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the world of snowsports.

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