Billion-pound boom: UK staycationers set to boost local economies


A sunny summer is forecast for the UK’s tourist hot spots as new Barclays research reveals that millions of Brits are planning ‘staycations’ in 2021. 

The news comes as Barclays encourages people to get to ‘Know Your Nation’ and explore the British Isles, with the bank finding that the average UK resident has visited more places abroad than domestically. 

As England’s accommodation and indoor hospitality sector prepares to reopen on 17th May, the total spend on domestic holidays this year is anticipated to reach £31 billion with 23 million Brits planning at least one staycation. 

Billion-pound windfalls will be enjoyed by the ten most popular holiday destinations, with top-ranked Cornwall set to welcome £1.7 billion worth of staycation business, while the hotels, B&Bs and tourism economies in the Lake District, Devon and Yorkshire are also likely to feel the benefit.

Table: Top ten UK holiday destinations 2021

Destination2021 staycation windfall
Cornwall£1.693 billion
Lake District£1.635 billion
Devon£1.534 billion
Yorkshire£1.462 billion
London£1.366 billion
North Wales£1.346 billion
Scottish Highlands£1.135 billion
Dorset£1.116 billion
South Wales£1.039 billion
Cotswolds£981 million

The pandemic has encouraged people to support the local economy, and half of British holidaymakers (48 per cent) are planning trips that will allow them to explore areas in the UK with lots of small independent businesses. Restaurants are also central to people’s holiday hopes, with access to a top dining spot considered to be ‘really important’ by over half of Brits (54 per cent) when on holiday.

Back garden terrace of a manor house.

Better together

The impact of the pandemic is also shown in people’s holiday preferences. After so much of the past year being spent in lockdown and apart from loved ones, being together is set to be a common theme of this year’s holiday season, with three in five Brits (58%) expecting a resurgence in family holidays.

And with pets considered very much a part of the family, 5.8 million dog owners and 1.4 million cat owners are planning to take their furry friends on holiday with them.

Over half of 18–34-year-olds (55 per cent) are looking for a luxury break as an antidote to the stress of lockdown life, compared to just one quarter of those over 55 (26 per cent). That said, 45 per cent of 18–34-year-olds are looking to try sea kayaking or surfing this summer, suggesting appetite for activities remains high after weeks and months spent indoors.

Hannah Bernard, Head of Business Banking at Barclays, said: “We’ve been supporting thousands of hospitality and tourism businesses throughout the pandemic, signposting them to grants, helping them with marketing their services even when the shutters have been down, and providing millions of pounds worth of funds through the Government lending schemes.

“We’ve seen many small businesses adapting their premises to get ready to meet the needs of holidaymakers this summer. The investments that they have made will hopefully be rewarded as millions of Brits support the nation’s hotels, restaurants and shops, providing local economies with a welcome boost.”

Steve Double, MP for St Austell and Newquay and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Hospitality and Tourism, said: “When it comes to location for a Great British staycation, Cornwall has always been top of the list for UK holidaymakers and this summer will be another busy one for hotels, B&Bs, pubs and restaurants in Cornwall and many other parts of the UK.

“I know local businesses are eagerly preparing to reopen again and looking forward to making the most of the peak season to bounce back from the pandemic. Many hospitality and tourism businesses are grateful to Barclays for stepping in to provide much-needed support during this unprecedented time for the sector.

“‘Know Your Nation’ will help staycationers discover the many delights that the British Isles have the offer and further enable the recovery of hospitality and tourism.”

Shaun Hawkey, owner of The Olde House, a site of 30 farm cottages in Wadebridge, Cornwall, said: “Last year was challenging, but 2021 is shaping up to be much better. Bookings in the summer months are up, and many guests continue to bring their dogs with them – a trend that has been steadily increasing over the past five years. Cornwall’s beaches and coastal paths are perfect for dog walks, and being on a working farm we are always happy to welcome more animals on site. 

“The Covid funding support we received last year has enabled us to adjust our operations and facilities, and we were delighted to welcome guests back to The Olde House in April. 

“Cornwall has beautiful, sandy beaches, and I’d recommend Polzeath, Daymer Bay and Rock as must-visits for those coming this summer. There are also great restaurants, particularly for fish, in Port Isaac and Padstow – just make sure you book in advance.”

People paddleboarding in the sea

Source and photo credits: Barclays


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