Staycations the key to boom in tourist numbers

Staycations the key to boom in tourist numbers
Staycations the key to boom in tourist numbers

THE rise of the staycation has seen England’s tourist industry boom with visitor numbers up nearly 25 per cent in the first three months of this year.

More Britons are holidaying at home as latest figures from 
VisitEngland show a record-breaking first quarter for the amount spent on overnight trips in England.

Visitors spent £1.8bn from January to March, up 23 per cent on the same period last year.

The number of domestic overnight holiday trips also set a new record for a first quarter with 7.3 million visits, up 10 per cent compared to the same period in 2015.

The tourism agency, VisitEngland, said the success followed its launch of a #LoveTheNorth campaign to encourage people to spend their February half-term and Easter holidays in the North.

Easter, which this year fell in the first quarter, is also one of the busiest travel times of the year as many plan a break to coincide with the start of warmer weather.

VisitBritain/VisitEngland director Patricia Yates said: “This is an incredibly positive start to the year as we continue... encouraging people to explore more of our regions and driving tourism, and its economic benefits, across the whole of England.”

The agency is now continuing with their campaign called #OMGB ‘Home of Amazing Moments’ in the build-up to summer which aims to get more British people to take a short break at home. It hopes to inspire people to share images of their own amazing holiday moments in the UK using the hashtag #OMGB, some of which are shared across social media.

These best first quarter figures come on the back of a strong 2015 for domestic holidays in England with trip numbers and spending both up by seven per cent.

Overall, last year domestic holidays in England saw a record-breaking £19.6bn spent and the highest number of trips since 2012.

The latest available figures for the Yorkshire region are from 2015 and show strong growth with domestic holiday trips up by 20 per cent from 9.4 million to 11.3 million. The region also experienced an 11 per cent increase in spending from £1.7bn to £1.9bn.

David Weston, of the Bed and Breakfast Association, said there had been increased numbers and it hopefully seemed like it was going to be a good year for domestic tourism. He said this was owing to a combination of factors including an improvement in quality, some good marketing and also good value.

The figures are an extra boost to tourism businesses just days after website TripAdvisor said that the UK had some of the world’s best hotels and B&Bs.

It highlighted the impressive improvement on the average review of UK accommodation on the website, which has passed other destinations in the world, including France, Spain and the US.

TripAdvisor is said to have looked at millions of reviews from 2005 and 2015. In 2005, the average rating given to UK hotels and B&Bs was just 3.57 out of five; but by 2015 was 4.16 with B&Bs coming out tops.