Singapore is world's most expensive tourist spot according to new survey – but is it 'fake news'?

Prices for British visitors to Singapore have risen by 65 per cent in a year in sterling terms, according to a Post Office survey, making It the world’s priciest holiday destination. 

The city-state is easily the most expensive location of the 44 cities and resorts sampled for the annual Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer. The survey compares the price of eight holiday commodities, including drinks, sunscreen and insect repellent.

Costs in Singapore totalled £154, nine per cent ahead of Dubai and Muscat in Oman, in joint second place at £141. Bulgaria was cheapest at £38.

The Post Office says the price of a meal for two with a bottle of house wine in Singapore has doubled in the course of a year, and now stands at £118. An equivalent meal in New York will cost £65, and only £33 in Tokyo.

Tourism officials in Singapore rejected the survey’s finding, saying it did not represent a “like-for-like comparison” because a more expensive restaurant had been chosen.

A spokesperson for the Singapore Tourism Board told The Independent: “The cost of a meal and bottle of wine at the restaurant included in last year’s study – therefore offering a genuine year-on-year comparison – has not increased.

“Singapore enjoys a thriving culinary scene with something to suit foodies on every budget, from fine-dining at some of the world’s best restaurants, to its renowned hawker centres, where visitors can still purchase a Michelin-starred meal for under £5.”

But the Post Office insisted its survey is sound. A spokesperson said: “We are confident that the price shown for Singapore is a fair representation of what UK visitors will find on average.”

Prices in Spain, the most popular overseas destination for British travellers, have risen by 42 per cent according to the report.

In the past year the pound has fallen by two per cent against the euro. Most of the rest of the rise in Spain is attributed to “the result of steep increases in the cost of eating out”. ABTA, the travel association, reports that its members sold nine per cent more holidays to Spain in 2017 compared with the previous year.

Portugal is one-third more expensive, according to the survey, largely because the price of a meal out has risen by 64 per cent year on year.

Noel Josephides, chairman of Sunvil Holidays, said: “There is no doubt that prices have gone up in Portugal as in other EU destinations but a lot depends where these are being measured.  If you are looking at honeypot areas like Lisbon, the Algarve and Porto then they would have risen proportionally more but to measure in exact percentages – well I am not sure. In the Alentejo a coffee costs only 60 cents.”

The survey says Oman has by far the most expensive filter coffee, costing £6.15 for a cup. But The Independent found that the largest coffee at one of the many branches of Costa in Muscat costs less than half as much, at £3.04.

Neighbouring Dubai has seen some unusual price cuts over the past year: the cost of insect repellent and sunscreen have halved. A Coke is now only £1.48; last year it was the most expensive in the world at £5.11.

Drinkers may be tempted to the Japanese capital by the Post Office’s assertion that the price of a beer has fallen to a mere 69p — one-sixth of the price a year ago.

The price of a large glass of wine in Tokyo has fallen to the same level, a drop of three-quarters in the past year, making it easily the cheapest worldwide. Noted wine-producing nations are far more expensive: travellers will pay £3.14 in South Africa, £4.50 in France and over £5 in Australia.

Australia is almost the land of the £10 pint, warns the Post Office, with a 330ml beer (just over half-a-pint) costing £4.79 in Darwin.

Dubai and Oman are still more expensive, at over £8 for a small beer. The Gulf nations also charge most for a glass of wine, at £9.50 and £10.25 respectively.

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