Despite the roll out of Covid vaccines across the UK it still seems as if 2021 will not be a great one for international travel with many people looking towards a staycation UK for their holidays.
Last year saw a massive surge in UK domestic tourism or UK staycations, and 2021 seems set to continue this trend.
Visit Britain forecasts that domestic tourism spending will be “up 79% compared to 2020” although this is “still only 67% of the level of spending seen in 2019”.
Rise in UK staycations
Expedia saw a 75% increase in interest for UK summer holidays “in hotspots such as Devon, Cornwall, Hampshire, the Lake District and Bournemouth” in January, the company’s Rebecca Murphy told the Mirror newspaper.
Anthony Climpson, CEO of Go New Forest, a CIC company responsible for promoting tourism to the New Forest syas that, “many of our hotels and holiday parks are already reporting that they are 80-90% full for the summer.”
Part of the popularity for UK domestic tourism stems from safety concerns about travelling abroad.
“Lots of people will remain nervous about going overseas and will seek a holiday closer to home,” adds Climpson. “The New Forest’s fresh air, wildlife and open spaces are the perfect antidote to all the lockdowns, and a way in which to feel normal again.”
A recent survey of 6,000 customers by Best Western hotels has revealed that 90% felt safer taking a UK staycation this year.
“With the worries around quarantine, we are now starting to see bookings landing for the big summer months coming through in the last 24 hours,” spokesperson Andrew Denton told the BBC.
Holidaycottages.co.uk paints a similar picture.
James Starkey, its Chief Operating Officer, says, “Over the past week, bookings taken for May half-term onwards are up 39% compared to last year, with the summer holidays up 98%.
“There’s still a degree of uncertainty amongst consumers over when travel will be possible, but we expect another strong summer for the UK staycation industry as more people choose to remain closer to home for a number of reasons.”
Fore more creative staycation UK inspiration, read Irene Caswell’s UK Staycation Ideas to Learn a New Skill.
Cost and benefit of a 2021 staycation UK
Inevitably there is a cost to pay for this increased in popularity for UK domestic holidays.
Guesty, a company that works across booking platforms, has calculated the average nightly rates for short-term rentals and independent hotels in the UK have increased 59 per cent for June this year compared with June last year, according to the I.
However, especially considering the health impact of such an extended period of lockdown, the benefits of a UK Staycation can be immense especially for the more elderly traveller.
Maria Cook, General Manager of Ffestiniog Travel, says that their customers, who are predominantly over 50, are likely to want to holiday at home due to the ongoing uncertainties around international travel.
“We know they are really looking forward to travelling from our recent polls,” she says. “These surveys have also revealed that the companionship of meeting others like themselves and the ease of group touring, where we take care of all the logistics are still important to them. We anticipate bookings for domestic travel to be in demand if, of course, the national restrictions ease and allow us to move freely around the UK.”
Best staycation ideas
While many people will follow the hordes flocking to Cornwall and popular domestic tourism locations in the UK, others will take the opportunity to explore less visited corners of the country.
Heather Reekie, director of marketing and sales at Rabbie’s, says, “with international restrictions being uncertain, we expect leisure domestic holidays to be the first to recover, and look forward to hosting Brits on adventures to destinations they are yet to visit in the UK.
“This is the perfect opportunity to explore communities that you may have heard of but never seen; taking travellers on a deep dive into the heritage and history you have read about and experience plenty of new things.”
You might be forgiven for asking the question, ‘what is a staycation?’ The original staycation definition arose from a portmanteau of ‘stay’ and ‘vacation’ and arose in the Financial Crisis at the end of the Noughties when many Americans decide to vacate at home, taking a series of day-trips. The term has subsequently travelled across the Atlantic and now refers to any domestic holiday, regardless of whether you actually stay at home or not.
If last year is anything to go by it seems that many people will be taking to the fields and paths of the UK, especially as maintaining good health becomes a priority for many people.
“With more people taking up walking over lockdown, and the demand for holidaying closer to home in 2021, we have added extra product for our UK walking holiday programme, we’ve still got plenty of availability and will keep adding more product to fulfil demand,” says Gemma Chase at Ramblers Walking Holidays. “We have full covid-safety measures in place, and our holidays are ideal for social distancing, where our leaders take you off the beaten track away from tourist trails.”
How long will the staycation UK boom last?
The country’s staycation fixation might be all over by Christmas. Thomas Cook has announced that 40% of its recent bookings are from October, compared with only 10% at the beginning of the year, reports the Guardian.
However, if the past year has taught us anything, it is not to predict to far ahead. So, perhaps the UK staycation boom is set to continue for many years in the future.