Hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions can expect to enjoy a bumper year as visitors are expected to flock to Scotland’s coast, countryside and cities, including Edinburgh Castle, The National Museum of Scotland and Scotch Whisky distillery visitors centres as domestic tourism enjoys something of a new golden era.
The Great British Staycation, which surveyed more than 2,000 British holidaymakers and 500 business leaders from the leisure & hospitality industry, found that people of all ages said they were planning to enjoy more holiday time at home in 2019.
Barclay's report showed that 25-34 year-olds are more likely than any other age group to take their main holiday in Britain this year, with over half (52%) of staycationers planning to spend more time in the UK this year, compared to 2018.
According to UK staycationers, the top locations to visit are the South West (31%), Scotland (22%), Yorkshire (20%) and Wales (20%). Beyond the regions, the most popular places to visit are the Lake District (20%) and Cornwall (20%). Scotland’s dynamic countryside, sandy beaches and warm Scottish welcome are key drivers behind the growth in domestic tourism and encouraging more people to holiday north of the border.
Meanwhile, Scots choosing to staycation are overwhelming choosing to stay in Scotland, with nearly seven in ten (69%) choosing to visit somewhere in Scotland as opposed to the rest of the UK. The next most popular area for Scots to visit in the UK is the north east of England (32%).
Barclays’ report found that in Scotland, 52% of those surveyed said they had seen an increase in domestic tourism since 2017, and 42% of Scottish businesses had seen bookings being made further in advance.
According to domestic holidaymakers, the main reason for the popularity of staycations is convenience (34%), followed by a desire to revisit places they have been to before (21%). Almost one in five (18%) say holidays in the UK are more affordable, with the same number of respondents choosing a staycation because of concern over the impact that Brexit could have on foreign travel and family finances.
Hospitality businesses are already seeing their local economy benefit from the increasing demand for domestic holidays. In Scotland, 34% have seen employment opportunities improve, 31% have seen an increase in the number of hospitality businesses in their area and nearly a quarter (24%) have seen an increase in the number of independent shops. These findings suggest that, with a tailored business strategy, hospitality businesses can not only make the most of rising domestic demand, but also benefit the wider economy in uncertain political times.
In response to the findings, Jamie Grant, managing director at Barclays Corporate Banking, Scotland, said: “It’s very encouraging to see that domestic tourism is thriving in Scotland with more and more UK holidaymakers choosing to spend increasing amounts of their valuable leisure time closer to home. There are various reasons for this but ultimately, it’s fairly simple. The top-quality services provided by our hotels, restaurants, resorts and leisure providers are helping the British public enjoy great experiences without having to travel too far. This is true for all ages, but it’s particularly pleasing that our study found younger people are being drawn to UK holidays.
“Operators will have to continue to adapt and invest in cutting edge technology to ensure that this trend persists, while at the same time finding innovative ways to appeal to all age groups wanting to enjoy the attraction of a warm Scottish welcome.”
Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland, said: “Domestic tourism is a huge market for Scotland with 80% of all over-night visitor trips from UK travellers. We’re delighted that so many UK holidaymakers say they are planning a staycation in Scotland this year to explore the awe-inspiring landscapes, amazing attractions and fascinating history and heritage which can be found on their doorstep. It is testament to the continued investment by the Scottish tourism industry in crafting world class experiences that embrace innovation and the changing demands of visitors.”
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