‘Relation of Rupees against Pound attracts more tourists to Nepal’
A-Level students planning to take a gap year ahead of their university studies should overlook the usual year-abroad destinations, and instead head for countries such as Brazil and Nepal, according to new research released today.
Young travellers hoping to see the world before entering higher education have traditionally dashed Down Under to Australia and New Zealand, or found that their budget will stretch further on the bargain beaches of Thailand.
But the new study – which examines exchange rates across the globe and works out where the pound has gained strength against the local currency – has suggested that alternative options in Africa and South America may be more rewarding for young tourists seeking to keep an eye on their bank balances.
Brazil is flagged up as the most inviting choice for gap-year escapees, thanks to sterling’s recent performance against the real, gaining 26.1 per cent in value in the last 12 months.
The mountainous enclave of Nepal is denoted as the next most enticing possibility, with tourist cash likely to stretch a little further in the Himalayas, due to the pound’s gain of 21.55 per cent on the local rupee.
India – where the pound is up 20.73 per cent on the rupee in the last 12 months – and South Africa – where sterling has gained 18.1 per cent on the rand since summer 2011 – are also mooted as budget-friendly choices.
The research was conducted by exchange-rate specialist Moneycorp, and travel advice website gapyear.com.
Olann Kerrison, a currency analyst at Moneycorp, says that destinations such as Brazil may offer better value for wanderlust-stricken students.
‘There has been a great deal of fluctuation in the currency markets over the last 12 months,’ he explains. ‘In countries like Brazil, India and South Africa, the pound has strengthened significantly.’
‘The strength of the pound is great news for gappers heading off on an adventure.’
Despite this advice, Down Under remains the most popular direction for year-outers.
Statistics from gapyear.com – based on destination searches within the site and flight sales – ranked Australia and New Zealand in their traditional positions as first and second choices for young travellers.
Thailand came in third, with Cambodia and Laos – where the pound has risen by 3.86 per cent and 3.02 per cent respectively against the local currency – in fourth and fifth places.
Macca Sherifi of gapyear.com says that the trend for young people to venture to foreign shores has not faded, despite the introduction of high university tuition fees.
‘We’ve had record numbers of people signing up to the site this year, and the message boards have been abuzz with activity,’ he says.
‘However, budgets still remain an issue for most gap-year travellers, so finding ways to make their travel money go further is a hot topic at the moment.’
Further research, conducted by travel insurance provider Essential Travel, has shown that almost half of travellers embarking upon a gap year are school leavers.
A survey of parents of A-Level students found that 46 per cent of those intending to head abroad this year are aged between 18 and 20.
And over a third of parents – 35 per cent – believe that a gap year will be a worthwhile prospect for their children, helping them to gain work experience, learn a new language and improve their CV. –www.dailymail.co.uk