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Boost for hospitality sector as 83% of Brits opt for UK staycation amid coronavirus crisis

Findings from a national survey commissioned by The Cumberland suggest that the British holiday is here for the long-haul

New research from building society The Cumberland has revealed that the majority of British holidaymakers (83%) would prefer to holiday here in the UK rather than travel abroad this year, with 68% citing fears of being stranded abroad and uncertainty around COVID-19 (62%) as their main motivation for a British staycation.  Just over half (55%) of those surveyed admit to having concerns about quarantine measures with 44% noting self-isolation at their destination as a major concern.

Encouragingly, almost three-quarters of respondents (71%) are intending to plan a UK holiday in 2021, suggesting that the great British staycation is not just a short term solution to the coronavirus pandemic but a long-term option for holidaymakers and a significant confidence boost for the hospitality sector.

Commissioned by The Cumberland, which has a long-established hospitality lending team, the Research Without Barriers survey of 1,015 UK adults also highlighted that hotels (39%) and cottages (31%) are the most popular types of accommodation for those holidaying in Britain.

The research comes during a time of major uncertainty, with some countries across the world now facing spikes in coronavirus cases leading to short notice quarantine and self-isolation enforcements.

“This is an incredibly valuable piece of research for the British hospitality industry, as it reinforces the shift in mood amongst Britons when it comes to holidaying and travel,” said Bob Bishopp,  Head of Commercial Lending at The Cumberland. “With mortgage customers across the hospitality industry, from hotels and guesthouses, to holiday let owners, we have traversed the COVID journey with them, and know how vital this staycation bounce back will be to their long-term success.

“We’re thrilled to see Brits overwhelmingly opting for a UK holiday, not only this year but into next year as well, which I’m confident  will prove to be a lifeline to the entire sector. Those in the hospitality industry have worked incredibly hard since lockdown, in probably the most challenging circumstances the sector has seen.  The goal has been  to ensure the safest possible return for tourists and holidaymakers, while maintaining the safety of local residents, and that effort is now bearing fruit as we see Brits truly embracing the staycation.”

Findings from the research also revealed that before COVID hit, Spain was the most popular foreign destination, with a third of Brits admitting to cancelling their summer holiday to the country and opting for a British holiday instead. Meanwhile, Scotland and Cornwall were the favourite UK alternatives, with 16% opting to holiday there followed closely by the Lake District and Wales (15% each).

Fiona Campbell, Chief Executive, Association of Scottish Self Caterers, added:

“While the last few months have been challenging for Scottish self-catering, we’ve really stepped up to the mark by locking down early, implementing rigorous standards of hygiene, and getting back to work as soon as it is safe to do so in order to support our £723million sector.

“We’re optimistic about the future and this welcome new research, showing the incredible demand for staycations, adds significantly to that atmosphere of positivity and determination.

“Scotland is such a beautiful country, with so much to offer every kind of holidaymaker, and we’re thrilled to see that so many people from across the United Kingdom are choosing to take a well-earned break with us.”

When looking at what holidaymakers are choosing in terms of features and amenities, over half of respondents (57%) cited good views as the most important feature they look for when choosing their staycation accommodation. This was followed by outdoor space/gardens (53%), close to the beach (50%) and secluded and private (43%).

“These findings suggest that the British public are craving time outdoors, no surprise perhaps given the length of time we have been locked down. And if there is something Britain can boast proudly it is the beauty of our countryside and coastline offering the hospitality industry the opportunity to really capitalise on the current demand for the great outdoors,” explained Bob

Ease of travel to destination (59%) and ‘safer’ (46%) were cited as the main benefits of a holiday in the UK compared to a trip abroad the research revealed.

Perhaps given the recent worries around coronavirus, almost three-quarters (74%) of respondents admit to relaxation being their top priority for a British staycation. This is followed by sightseeing at 59%, which will come as a big relief to the UK’s visitor economy.

Nigel Wilkinson, Managing Director of Windermere Lake Cruises, comments: “This research highlights the really positive momentum being built in a sector that has been severely impacted by COVID-19. Visitors are vital to our local economy, as well as our business, so we’re delighted to see that sightseeing is a top priority for staycationers.”

Bob concluded: “Our research shows that the great British staycation is fast becoming the holiday of choice for Brits looking for convenience, safety and the great outdoors, thankfully not just this year but into 2021 and beyond. The hospitality sector has responded with speed and agility to ensure it can safely meet the growing consumer appetite for a UK holiday, and we’re thrilled we are able to support our customers in delivering this. Surely this is the much-anticipated renaissance of the British holiday!”

Thanks to ASSC Partners for Business The Cumberland for this report

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