Brits say NZ third dearest to visit

By Michael Dickison

Hospitality Association blames exchange rate for making things expensive for tourists.

NZ food and wine were found to be among the most expensive in the 42 nations surveyed. Photo / Dean Purcell
NZ food and wine were found to be among the most expensive in the 42 nations surveyed. Photo / Dean Purcell

New Zealand is the third-most expensive place in the world to visit based on the prices of meals, drinks and other tourist items, says a British survey.

And it is the most expensive place to have a drink of Coca-Cola, it says.

The Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer by the British Post Office, a survey of 42 countries, found South Korea was the dearest destination and Spain the cheapest.

Eight costs were compared: a coffee, a beer, a packet of cigarettes, a can of Coke, a glass of wine, suncream, a bottle of water, and a three-course meal for two.

New Zealand was in the top three for Coke, cigarettes, wine and dinner. After Spain, the cheapest country was Sri Lanka.

Hospitality Association chief executive Bruce Robertson said New Zealand's climbing exchange rate had simply made everything expensive for visitors. "The UK has been our big market, and our dollar has strengthened against the pound.

"It's not like anyone's making extensive profits from any of those commodities. It's what we have to charge - for a handle of beer or a cup of coffee.

"The hospitality industry is one of the least profitable industries. Nobody's price-gouging here. It's what it costs to deliver the product."

For visitors, businesses needed to make sure customer service was exceptional, because in relative terms their products were high priced.

"We've got to be focused on delivering a quality product. We're an exciting place for visitors, an aspirational destination... We've got to make sure the experience is outstanding so the pricing is nothing to quibble about."

Most items in the survey were four times more expensive in New Zealand than the cheapest destinations.

Cigarettes were 13 times dearer than in Vietnam, and Coke was 92 per cent more than the world average.

Previous Herald reports have found the price local beers, wines and fish to be more expensive in New Zealand than abroad.

Flights are dearer when bought in New Zealand, and books, mobile phone charges and clothes are often vastly more expensive.

Ahead of the Rugby World Cup two years ago, New Zealand faced some overseas criticism for being a "rip-off".

Expensive countries

1. South Korea
2. Australia
3. New Zealand
4. China
5. Canada

New Zealand's rankings (out of 42 countries)

Coffee: 6th most expensive
Beer: 6th
Coca-Cola: 1st
Wine: 3rd
Water: 24th
Suncream: 12th
Cigarettes: 2nd
Three-course meal: 3rd
Source: Post Office Travel Money (United Kingdom).

- NZ Herald

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