In a year that has produced an extremely turbulent time for the travel industry, and continues to do so, Brits are looking towards the summer with hope and optimism of a getaway in some form. Will the new holiday trend be ‘staycations'?
Travel Expert Rob (Globetrotter) Staines takes a closer look.
We all love a blast of extreme heat and summer sunshine, the opportunity to dust off the bucket and spade and spend balmy evenings sipping on cheap plonk looking out over the med, and this year the desire has never been greater. The airlines and tour operators are a-buzz with reports of pent up frustration and a surge in summer demand, and lets face it, after the year we’ve had it’s hardly surprising! Easyjet have seen a 250% increase in bookings over the peak season and have even been mulling over plans to hire more cabin crew. Meanwhile Michael O’Leary, the punchy boss of Ryanair, has been confidently boasting of ramping up operations to European beach destinations.
All this fanfare is music to the ears of many British travellers, but there is still a substantial proportion who are extremely wary of international travel and given the circumstances it’s easy to understand. Increasingly strict border restrictions, including planned quarantine hotels for arrivals from high risk countries, and uncertainty about a clear plan going forwards has forced many of us to look at holidays much closer to home.
With the continued successful rollout of the vaccine and a steady downward trend of the infection rate, ministers and experts have hinted that we will start to see a lifting of restrictions by the summer. It seems a hefty proportion of us are deciding to ditch the airports and embrace with full gusto, a great British Staycation! The Rest Easy Group, which owns brands providing cottages and dog friendly accommodation, is just one of the firms who have noted a surge in bookings over the last weekend of January, with CEO Matt Fox saying bookings were up 126% on one Sunday alone. Original Cottages also saw a boost, with bookings made over the weekend of the 31st of January up 94% compared to the same time last year. Expedia has also seen a 75% increase in searches for Summer holidays, reporting Devon, Cornwall and the Lake District amongst the most popular destinations.
All this is music to the ears of the UK holiday industry which has been blighted with lockdowns and tier restrictions and it would seem the possibility of this situation returning is not putting people off!
But where is good to go and how can we avoid the unfortunate situations of last year, where hotspots like Cornwall and Dorset were overwhelmed with the mass influx of visitors? It’s time to get a bit more creative in our destination planning – lets spread the love and discover the less valued areas of our beautiful country whilst avoiding the disappointment of sell-out sorrow. There’s a reason Coventry has been awarded UK’s city of Culture, Derbyshire is awash with beautifully preserved stately homes, and if you were planning on sunning yourself on a Greek yacht, what’s to stop you drifting down the canals of Skipton instead.
How about swapping the golden sands of the Costa Del Sol for Sunderland, where just to the north lies the magnificent Marsden Bay, or the dreamy Druidston beach on the coast of Pembrokeshire. If you prefer green patures, Essex, Kent and Sussex boast countryside to rival the Dordoigne or Tuscany, and if you fancy hitting the road and maximising your adventure potential, there are apps like Camptoo who offer an Airbnb style version of campervan hire.
We live on a small island, but there’s plenty of room for everyone and there are parts less trodden that will surely delight and refresh the weary British holidaymaker. Whilst the future is still uncertain, there’s still reason to plan, there’s still reason to be hopeful, and there’s certainly reason to truly appreciate this quirky and beautiful land we call home on a staycation.