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Border shopping bonanza as sterling soars 15.06.14

TRADERS in Co Donegal are enjoying a big shopping bonanza from sterling customers flocking south to enjoy the strongest currency rate seen in years.
Couple with the good weather, local businesses are looking forward to a much-welcome early season boost.
Estate agents, petrol stations, hotels and supermarkets are among those benefiting from the attractive cross-border currency differential.
On money markets today, one pound sterling is worth over €1.25 – a figure not seen for more than two years.
The weaker euro is also making it more expensive for customers here to spend in cities such as Derry and Belfast – proving another big boost for local traders as people shop at home.
Customers exchanging to sterling, meanwhile, are currently losing about a fifth on every euro.
The hospitality sector here is preparing for a big influx of sterling customers arriving from the North and Britain this summer.
Latest figures show that sterling holidaymakers to Ireland were up more than a quarter in the first three months of this year.
“It is particularly pleasing to see holidaymakers from the Great Britain market showing growth of 27 per cent and with the strong sterling rate at present we hope this will continue during the summer months,” said a Fáilte Ireland spokesperson.
Moville estate agent Leo McCauley said Northern property buyers are returning to the county in bigger numbers due to a combination of competitive prices for holiday homes and the huge discounts they are getting due to the buying power of their sterling.
“In general terms there are more cash buyers out there but the stronger Sterling is reinforcing the value people from the North are getting when they buy,” said Mr McCauley.
“A few years ago the holiday home market drifted away but we are now seeing it coming back due to a combination of lower prices for properties and in recent months a stronger sterling.
“If a customer from the North sees a house on sale here for 100,000 euro, they will automatically think ‘that’s going to cost me just 80,000 pounds’,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Redcastle Oceanfront Golf and Spa Hotel has noticed a rise in the number of sterling customers booking and making enquiries about short breaks.
The hotel’s director of sales and marketing, Claire Horan, said: “A large percentage of our business is Northern anyway so along with our regular guests the favourable sterling rate is also opening the doors to a new customer base,” said Ms Horan.
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