Weaker euro benefits UK holidaymakers

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Holidaymakers are feeling the benefit of the latest volatility in European currency markets – unless they have opted for a trip to the Swiss Alps.

A family skiing in Val Thorens or on a city break in Barcelona will find the pound is nine per cent up on the euro compared to a year ago, meaning Britons exchanging £500 will receive an extra r48 euros (£37).

However, a family travelling to Verbier or taking a break on the shores of Lake Geneva will find the pound is down 17 per cent since Wednesday against the Swiss franc, meaning £500 will get you 104 (£80) fewer Swiss francs.

Currency firm Travelex said the tourist rate for the euro is at around 1.27 to the pound, which is the best level for sterling since March 2008.

But this week the pound fell heavily against the newly free floating Swiss franc to the lowest level since 2011, meaning that skiers heading to the Swiss Alps this weekend will pay more for their lunch on the slopes than compatriots in the French or Italian Alps.

The rise of the Swiss franc comes as the county’s central bank abandoned a cap that was introduced in September 2011 in a bid to try to hold back the rise of the safe haven currency at a time when the eurozone debt crisis was at its height.

The move will make Swiss exports more expensive, such as watches and chocolate and potentially leaving a nasty taste in the mouth for chocolate lovers ahead of Easter.

At the time that the peg was introduced, Swiss exporters had been forced to sharply cut their prices in order to stay competitive.