The UK is the world’s 6th biggest tourist destination, welcoming more than 40 million visitors in 2018. However, it is the domestic market that continues to drive much of the UK’s tourist industry with around £23.4bn being spent by Brits at home.
It does seem like the ‘staycation’ has come back into fashion, with more and more families eschewing the traditional long summer holiday abroad in favour of one or more shorter breaks at home. But what is driving this recent trend?
The financial pressures on households over the last ten years are well known, with slow wage growth and high inflation hitting people’s pockets hard. Indeed, with widespread food bank use on the rise and around 20% of Brits living in relative poverty, many people simply cannot afford the extra expense of taking a long holiday abroad.
This has even contributed to so-called ‘multi-generational’ holidays becoming more common where parents, grandparents and children will split the bill and head on holiday together. Many holiday companies and hotels are playing catch-up to cater for large holiday groups with a range of ages.
Great British weather
The long heatwave of 2018 in which Britain basked in hot sunshine for almost two months solid led many people to stay at home and enjoy their holidays on their own home patch.
Indeed, some analysts have commented that the 2018 heatwave may have triggered a new renaissance of Brits holidaying at home – indications have shown strong domestic holiday demand in 2019 following the unusually hot spell of weather, and similarly so in Scottish skiing resorts following record snowfall during the 2018 ‘Beast from the East’.
The long Brexit saga continues to drag on under a new prime minister – and as it does so, business investment remains subdued and currency markets continue doing somersaults as a potentially damaging no-deal exit looms on 31 October.
The EU is by far the biggest destination for UK tourists, accounting for 9 of the top 10 destinations for Brits holidaying abroad.
The prospect of the UK leaving the EU without a deal raises all sorts of questions around air travel, visas and driving in Europe – which in turn has deterred many would-be jet setters from holidaying abroad, particularly around Easter this year when the Brexit deadline was fast approaching.
If the recent Extinction Rebellion protests in London or the rise to fame of climate activist Greta Thunberg have shown us anything, it’s that climate change is fast moving up the political agenda as people begin to realise the scale of the challenge facing us.
Some people are now choosing to shun air travel due to the high levels of CO2 produced by aeroplanes, which is continually rising year on year. Instead, many choose to holiday at home or use greener forms of transport abroad such ferries or the Eurotunnel.
So while there are a multitude of factors at work here, there is a clear and undeniable trend towards the ‘staycation’ becoming more and more popular, bringing with it great opportunities for growth for the UK tourism industry. Investors have spotted this opportunity too, with holiday lettings becoming a popular and potentially profitable alternative to buy to let.
If you’re considering a holiday let purchase or simply want to learn more, click here or call one of our expert Mortgage Consultants for a free, no-obligation chat on your options.