North Wales town set to be UK’s second most ‘overcrowded’ place this summer

Police stopped 2,500 cars in the area last week, a visitor to Wigan was sent to pack his bags after saying he wanted to visit Talacre Lighthouse.

Analysis of Google searches from UK vacation seekers suggests that Llandudno may hope to be the UK’s second most ‘crowded’ holiday destination this summer.
Not far behind is Chester, where it is expected that there will be little room at the hostel for those wanting a last minute getaway.

However, many guest houses say they are still waiting for the expected boom in stays to materialize.

North Wales tourism chiefs said there was a danger the region would miss the windfall if the Welsh government maintains its extremely cautious approach to reopening.

With overseas travel looking less and less likely this summer, many Britons are reportedly turning to UK destinations for their annual vacation instead.

Pikl, a specialist insurer for Airbnb and vacation rentals, compared demand to “Christmas desperation levels” for gifts.

The company used the online analytics tool SEMrush to determine which UK destinations were most represented in Google searches over the past year.

As expected, much of the holiday traffic has been concentrated in places like London, Edinburgh and York.

However, when the size of the destination’s population was taken into account, the results told a different story.

Crowds gather in Llandudno for Armed Forces Day 2018
(Image: North Wales Live)

Topping the list was Dorchester – a relatively small town but with a lot of online interest from vacationers.

Next is Llandudno in Conwy, with a population of 15,371. Here, over the past year, Google traffic for “Llandudno hotels” has peaked at 6,697 searches per day.

As a proportion of the population, this equates to 44%. For Dorchester, the figure was 52%.

The others in the top five were St Andrews (32%), York (27%) and Chester (26%).

Four more topped 20% – Stratford-upon-Avon (24%), Bath (23%), St Ives (22%) and Windsor (21%).

The grounds of the Belle Vue House Holiday Apartments are very attractive to hungry Great Orme goats

However, search traffic doesn’t always translate into bookings, and in the tourism and hospitality industry, there is some frustration with the current Covid restrictions.

Tracey Zbinden, owner of the Belle Vue House beachfront holiday apartments in Llandudno, normally expects to be booked for much of summer and fall at this time of year.

Instead, her phone is unusually quiet.

“About 70% of the dates are usually booked 12 months in advance, and most years I’m full from Valentine’s Day until Bonfire Night,” she said.

“This year, everything has been very calm so far. I think people are still hesitant to commit.

“If everyone is supposed to be vacationing in Britain this year, instead of flying overseas, that hasn’t happened yet.”

Belle Vue House Holiday Apartments owner Tracey Zbinden (left) with her daughter Joey Staerkle, a former beauty queen
Belle Vue House Holiday Apartments owner Tracey Zbinden (left) with daughter Joey Staerkle

Tracey, whose guesthouse reopens on April 24, suspects business is slow for two reasons.

Few people are willing to book until they know for sure when pubs and restaurants reopen, and others are worried about missing their shots, she said.

“I have had a few cancellations this month because the hospitality industry is not open,” she said.

“When that happens, I expect that everywhere will start to get busy again.

“I’ve had a lot of people who inquire about availability – but are unwilling to commit until they know the date of their first or second vaccination.”

Llandudno's promenade in the sun still attracts day trippers, but the local tourism and hospitality sector is absent
Llandudno’s promenade in the sun still attracts day trippers, but the local tourism and hospitality sector is absent
(Image: Hadyn Iball / North Wales Live)

Jim Jones, CEO of North Wales Tourism, said the online interest in Llandudno as a tourist destination came as no big surprise.

The town, after all, was the ‘jewel in the crown’ of North Wales seaside resorts, with a long history of tourism and a range of chic hotels and ‘some of the best B & Bs in the world’, he said. -he declares.

But he said anger and frustration was growing in the area.

“Since the border reopened, North Wales has been inundated with day visitors,” Mr Jones said.

“Unfortunately, they don’t stay longer because the pubs and restaurants are not open. There are also no attractions which would give them a reason to stay.

“It’s very unfair. The Welsh government needs to be more flexible and realize that the sooner the sector reopens, the better for everyone.

“As the Senedd elections approach, I am optimistic that they will get the message.”

Elsewhere in Wales, the Pikl study of Google searches showed Aberystwyth doing well, with a population-weighted figure of 11%.

There was also some interest in Wrexham (3%) and the coastal towns of Rhyl (2%), Colwyn Bay (1%) and Prestatyn (1%).

Buckley, with a total of 59 searches in 12 months, and Connah’s Quay, with six searches, rated at 0%.

Shotton, also in Flintshire, where there hasn’t been a single search for local hotels in the past year, according to the analysis.

Caught in the act - Great Orme goat broke into Belle Vue House guesthouse in the middle of the night
Caught in the act – Great Orme goat broke into Belle Vue House guesthouse in the middle of the night

For now, Llandudno must wait and see if pent-up demand for getaways leads to a golden summer.

The Belle Vue house rose to fame in January when a wild goat was found wandering the property in the middle of the night.

Owner Tracey Zbinden suspects they have a fondness for the guesthouse’s manicured gardens: a fortnight ago, she caught a photo of a herd of goats lining up at the front door.

“Right now it looks like we have more goats than guests,” she sighed.

Should tourism and hospitality in Wales reopen in parallel with England? Give your opinion in the comments section.

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