Hi-de-hi Campers!

So it’s been a good few months since my last holiday. Whilst I am very grateful for the odd bank holiday, I think it’s about time I started planning a break which lasts longer than three days. After considering a few options I thought I would look further into the ‘staycation’ boom, so here are my findings.

Did you know that…… in 2011 UK visitors made up 9.7 million overnight trips to Wales and spent more than £1.7bn? Holiday trips accounted for 62% of all visits to Wales in 2011. Once Business Minister Edwina Hart had been presented with these figures there was no holding her back, she allocated an additional £850,000 to the Visit Wales UK campaign!

One industry in particular that has benefited from the staycation boom is holiday parks. In January, Centre Parcs stated that bookings for 2012 were up 2.2% on last year, demand for summer bookings were up 19.1% year on year. Holiday parks were popular back in the 60’s; people embraced the 3 set meal times a day and overzealous entertainment. As holidays abroad became more accessible in the 70’s and 80’s, holiday parks somewhat lost their appeal. Well the tables have turned…….. again! Centre Parcs have recognised this and extended their appeal beyond families, and now offer adult only spa experiences.

I attempted to find some reasons why domestic holidays appeal to the British, but the actual statistics varied somewhat. So let’s view the following as feedback, why do consumers favour holidays in the UK as opposed to abroad?

  • Flying is a hassle
  • Better standard of hotels
  • Prefer British restaurants and catering
  • Scenery (Keep Wales Tidy has announced Blue Flag Status to 43 beaches in Wales)

There are occasions where a late deal in Spain will be cheaper than a staycation. That said the recent popularity of discount voucher sites enables the UK to compete with such deals.

Where do they go, I hear you ask? According to the Welsh Assembly Government, the majority of overnight UK tourists head straight to North Wales. Whilst most overnight business trips are spent in the South East.

What do the Welsh do?

The following information comes from TGI and is split into short break and holidays, so stay with me! In the last 12 months 43% of Welsh adults took a short break in the UK whilst 25% stayed in the UK for their holiday.

Top 5 destinations for holidays/short break in the UK

Welsh adults 15+

  1. 22% Wales
  2. 11% Elsewhere in England
  3. 10% West Country
  4. 9% London
  5. 7% South/South East/Isle of Wight

Source: GB TGI Radio+ 2012 Quarter 2, Kantar Media, Wales BARB Region

It’s seems what’s made in Wales stays in Wales when it comes too domestic holidays! Even if they don’t stay in Wales 37% of our adult population like to go back to familiar places.

Just out of curiosity I thought I would have a peek at what the averages are around the UK for visiting Wales.

The majority went on holiday or had a short break with their partner (both 20%), closely followed by taking their family (holiday 19% and short break 14%). Now I understand that tourism companies have peak and off peak rates, and as a general rule of thumb peak tends to be in term time. Even so I was surprised to find out that more people take their holidays outside of school term time than in term time.

The increase in Air Passenger Duty combined with the UK joining the EU Emissions Trading Scheme means that going abroad is no longer a viable or ‘value for money’ for many people. Staycation’s are set to stay; they have been firmly in place for 3 successful years. The economy is set to remain toilsome over the coming year; consumers will look to escape from the monotony of everyday life.

I’d like to hear your thoughts on the staycation market, whether you are a holiday park, tour operator or visitor attraction. Please leave a comment below, or get in touch with me directly on jodi.stuart@realradio.co.uk or @realradiojodi

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