Surge in ‘staycations’ due to ‘post-Brexit anxiety’

Bookings look set to make 2018 another bumper year for domestic tourism and industry experts say the “staycation” trend is becoming a sustained feature.

Tourism and marketing expert Dr Sheila Malone of Lancaster University said there had been a noticeable movement in trends following the Brexit referendum.

She told Sky News: “That seemed to trigger a different kind of consumer sentiment in terms of spending – a little bit more cautious, looking for a bit more security in how they (British holidaymakers) are spending their money… There’s a shift in the tourism landscape probably driven by the nervousness and anxiousness around Brexit.”

Latest figures support the theory. Visit Britain says that in 2017 there was another 4% rise in holiday trips taken by Brits in England. That’s on top of an 11% increase in domestic overnight trips in the 10 years since 2006.

Butlins says bookings are up 7.5% on this time last year. Its research has identified a post-Brexit sense of nostalgia.

Post-Brexit anxiety among Britons is said to be creating a surge in UK holidays

Image: Blackpool landlady Claire Smith says there’s ‘a serious trend for the staycation’

The company’s communications director Andrew French said: “There’s a lot of sentimental attachment to the British seaside so we will see guests who come and want to tell their families about the holidays they had by the seaside skimming stones, walking along the beach or going to the fair.”

The Caravanning and Camping Club also says that early indications for 2018 are positive with a 10% increase across its 106 campsites compared to last year.

Blackpool landlady Claire Smith has been in the businesses for 26 years and has witnessed the highs and lows of holiday trends over that time.

“We’ve had some glory years, then we had the declining years… 2016 saw a turnaround,” she said.

“There is most definitely a serious trend emerging now for the staycation. If you go back years and years people used to come to Blackpool for a fortnight, then they’d come for a week, then they’d come for a couple of days. Now they’re staying for three or four days. That’s new.”

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Dr Malone believes that nostalgia is a key factor in the psychology behind the latest figures.

“There’s been a renewed interest in what’s on our own doorstep, looking to what traditionally would have been a 19th century style holiday… your fish and chips by the seaside, your ice-creams on the promenade. We’ve seen a revival of beach huts and donkey rides.”