Simon Calder: Try Arab Spring nations for real deals

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The Independent Online

As long as Greece remains in the euro zone, the only way for Greek traders to achieve the necessary competitive edge is to cut prices.

The Portuguese have long realised this, which is one reason that bargain-hungry Brits may head for the Atlantic nation in record numbers this year.

A myth that has gained traction among British holidaymakers is that any nation outside the euro zone represents good value. Popular countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Switzerland demonstrate the absurdity of this world view: their currencies have nearly doubled against the pound over the past four years. Croatia, whose currency closely shadows the euro, is also expensive.

Yet further east, there are excellent deals to be found in Romania and Bulgaria – both of which saw a surge of 25 per cent in British visitors – while Estonia enticed one-third more UK tourists.

Two key holiday destinations experienced a collapse in visitors from Britain in the first three months of the year: due to the turmoil accompanying the "Arab Spring", Egypt and Tunisia lost almost half their UK tourists. This signals where the best package holiday bargains of the summer may be found. Last night, Thomas Cook was offering a week, half board, in Tunisia in August for £326 including flights from Gatwick. Its rival, Thomson, was going even lower with a self-catering week, departing 31 July, for only £281 on the Greek island of Rhodes.