Holidaymakers heading to Europe, and families changing money ahead of the half-term holiday, are discovering that £1 does not even buy €1 at some airport bureaux de change.
The overnight “flash crash” of the pound on the foreign-exchange markets is thought to have been triggered by harsh comments by the French president on a post-Brexit deal. The effects of Francois Hollande’s demand for the UK to pay a “heavy price” appear to have been magnified by automated currency dealing.
The crash accentuated the fall in the value of sterling since the EU referendum – and led to airport bureaux de change dramatically cutting their rates.
At Gatwick, ICE was selling €95 for £100.17, making each pound worth just under 95c.
The travel-money dealers FairFX surveyed other airports and found that Moneycorp at Southend airport was offering 97c for each £1. At Birmingham, Edinburgh, Heathrow, London City and Luton, rates ranged from €1 to €1.01.
Ted Wake, director of sales for Kirker Holidays, said: “As ever, if you book through a tour operator the price is guaranteed.”
He said that the fall in sterling had not affected demand for special occasions: “The what-the-hell approach to life applies. Life is still far too short not to book a short break when the opportunity arises.”
Mr Wake added that bookings after the referendum are 10 per cent higher: “We are keeping a close eye on this – and have noticed that our UK holidays are 15 per cent up.”
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