UK staycation boom continues as hotel rooms are booked up in hotspots

The UK staycation boom continues: Hotels and caravan parks in tourism hotspots are set for a bumper summer with half of rooms already booked up until the end of the holidays

  • 55% of rooms in Devon and Cornwall reserved for rest of June, July and August 
  • Cumbria has 44% of rooms booked – up from 36% in 2022, according to firm STR 

Hotels in Britain’s tourism hotspots are on course for a bumper summer with half of rooms already booked up until the end of the holidays, data revealed today.

Some 55 per cent of rooms in Devon and Cornwall have been reserved for the rest of June, July and August – which is up from 52 per cent this time last year.

Figures from analytics firm STR also showed Cumbria has seen strong demand, with 44 per cent of rooms booked up in the region, up from 36 per cent in 2022.

In Edinburgh the figure is about 65 per cent this summer, up from 61 per cent last year; while in East and North Yorkshire it is at 55 per cent, up from 48 per cent.  

Holiday operator Bourne Leisure said it expects to host three million people this year across its 39 Haven caravan parks, up 20 per cent from 2.5million last year.

And Sykes Holiday Cottages has a record 21,000 holiday lets available this summer after increasing its total by 15 per cent in expectation of further demand.

It marks a continuation of the staycations boom that began when pandemic travel rules restricted foreign holidays, even though demand for foreign trips is also rising – with outbound flight bookings for this summer now up 9 per cent on last year. 

This graphic from Visit England shows how hotel room occupancy in England has varied since 2019 – excluding 2020 when much of the tourism industry was shut due to the pandemic

Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, told MailOnline today: ‘Holidays within the UK used to be a bit of a laughing stock due to poor quality accommodation and food. That perception has been transformed as hotels have invested in much better quality facilities, which guests can be proud of staying at. 

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‘The post-pandemic period has also helped to encourage UK citizens to re-evaluate what’s on their own doorstep for a vacation, rather than automatically think about going abroad.

‘I have no doubt that the volume of people taking UK trips will continue to rise. Some people don’t wish to travel through busy airports at peak periods, some prefer not exchanging currency, some prefer to explore lesser-known parts of the UK by bike or car. 

‘Whatever the reason, the UK has become more attractive on so many levels and you will only continue to see higher visitor numbers in all counties.’

Malcolm Bell, chair of Visit Cornwall, told the Financial Times: ‘For a lot of people, it’s not a holiday unless they are at the airport. But more and more people, especially families, are at least entertaining the idea of a staycation.’

And Paul Flaum, chief executive of Bourne Leisure, said: ‘Guests don’t just want value for money, they want certainty and to make sure every penny spent is worth it.’

A survey of British tourists by Visit Britain found nearly 40 per cent are more likely to go on a holiday in the UK in the next six months compared with the previous year.

But there is also increased demand for holidays abroad, with easyJet planning 28 per cent more capacity on its flights than in 2019 in the peak summer period.

People enjoy the warm weather at Paignton in Devon on Saturday as temperatures soared

Lake Windermere in Cumbria, which has enjoyed strong summer demand, is seen on May 29

Flight data aggregator ForwardKeys said outbound flight bookings between June and August are up 9 per cent on last year, and just 6 per cent down on the last pre-pandemic year of 2019.

The biggest increase in demand compared to before the pandemic has been for Greece, which is 44 per cent up on 2019 levels, ahead of India and Mexico, both at 41 per cent ahead. Turkey is up 35 per cent while Cyprus is 32 per cent ahead.

Its data, shared with MailOnline, also found that Japan is 201 per cent up on 2022, reflecting that country’s late reopening following the pandemic, while Germany is up 28 per cent on last year and India 13 per cent.

But UK tourism bosses will also be hoping that sustained good weather will help convince people to stay in Britain for their holidays, following highs of 32C (90F) in London over the weekend and temperatures of 28C (82F) expected today.

Graham Donoghue, chief executive of Sykes Cottages, told the FT: ‘When the weather is good, domestic travel does well. We’re pretty simple us Brits: when it’s sunny, we look out the window and think ‘Aha, it’s time to book a holiday’.’

The biggest increase in demand for Britons going abroad compared to before the pandemic has been for Greece, which is 44 per cent up. The island of Zakynthos is pictured (file image)

This morning, bookmaker Coral cut its odds to 1-2 from 5-6 on this month ending as the country’s hottest June on record.

The firm is also now also odds-on at 4-5 for the highest UK temperature being broken this summer – a year after the all-time high of 40.3C in Lincolnshire on July 19, 2022.

Tourism chiefs in Britain will also be keeping an eye on whether planned strikes by security guards at Heathrow Airport go ahead and cause disruption, which could also affect Britons’ decisions on whether to go on a last-minute trip abroad.

The action for June 24 and 25 was postponed yesterday following an improved pay offer, but but more than 2,000 Unite members could still walk out for 29 days across the summer until late August if the latest offer is rejected by the union.

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