After the government imposed quarantine checks on travelers arriving in Britain from Spain, France and other popular destinations for British tourists due to health concerns linked to Covid-19, more and more Britons are taking their holidays closer to home this year.
Gerard Tempest, director of guest and proposal at Haven, said the disruption of overseas travel and Britons’ desire to put their Covid concerns behind with vacations was driving an end-of-year sales boom. season. He said: “We are seeing a greater proportion of people who are new to us, people say, ‘Should I really try a staycation where I would normally go abroad? ”
UK tourism and hospitality businesses have been among the hardest hit by Covid-19, putting millions of workers on leave as campsites, pubs and restaurants across the country have been forced to close . Haven, part of the Bourne Leisure group which also operates Butlin’s, has put almost all of its 10,500 employees on leave and borrowed £ 300million from the Bank of England to stay afloat. However, the company is now hiring an additional 500 people to meet increased demand and perform a more thorough than normal cleaning program.
Plans to extend the UK holiday season come as visits to UK beach destinations recover faster than elsewhere in the country after the lockdown is lifted, potentially benefiting local economies which suffered more than large cities in recent years.
“Foreign tourists go to different places. So it’s clear that London, Cambridge, Edinburgh, York and Oxford are unlikely to get as many stay benefits. He’ll go to Newquay or Skegness, ”said Mark Gregory, chief economist at accounting firm EY. “All of this suggests a pretty good short-term boost for places that are typically among our most vulnerable local economies.”
Travel to coastal towns has not been as badly affected as elsewhere in the UK. It was down 24.4% in August from the same month a year ago, according to research provider Springboard. Visits to retail destinations across the country remain down 30.8%, while footfall in regional cities is still down by more than half, with central London down 64%.
Research from the consultancy firm Capital Economics suggests that if all of the £ 60bn that Britons usually spend on holidays abroad were instead spent on national holidays, gross domestic product (GDP) would increase by 2.8 percentage points this year – more than enough to offset 1.3 percentage points loss due to lack of foreign visitors.
Despite hopes that a longer season can make up lost ground, VisitBritain, the national tourism board, expects domestic spending on day trips and vacations to still fall by half to 46. , £ 8 billion for 2020 as a whole, up from £ 91.6 billion last year. . With quarantine restrictions on international arrivals, he also expects 31 million fewer foreign visitors this year, at a cost of £ 24 billion to the UK economy.
Nonetheless, tourist boards across the country are aiming to encourage British holidaymakers to return to places that would normally lose out in the face of package holidays abroad. A spokesperson for the trade organization Pembrokeshire Tourism said businesses in the Welsh county had not only benefited from increased demand during the summer, but were also “equipped to meet the anticipated demand for off-peak travel”.
Meanwhile in Cornwall, the official tourist board is hoping to appeal to an older generation. “There are a lot of people over 55 in the Baby Boomer generation who may not have taken a break yet and are multiple vacationers, normally overseas,” said Malcolm Bell, CEO of Visit Cornwall. Referring to a Covid outbreak from a holiday flight from the Greek island of Zante to Cardiff, he added: “Especially after the Zante flights and a few other things, they’re probably nervous about flying.
The council is currently coordinating a winter campaign of discounts and small free events with local operators that can take place even in the worst UK weather conditions during the winter months – including pastry-making sessions and behind-the-scenes tours in art galleries – with the aim of attracting those who particularly want to avoid the crowds.
“We’re trying to say that you won’t be bored in Cornwall and be spoiled for choice, rather than thinking we’re all closed,” said Bell. “The attractions that stay open in winter are so much calmer and so much nicer in many ways.”