Virus Quarantine Fears Boost The UK ‘Staycation’
London, July 31 : With pandemic storm clouds gathering over Britain’s tourism industry, the collapse in foreign holidays has presented an opportunity by boosting the demand for “staycations”.
British hotels, campsites and restaurants were only allowed to reopen late in July and the fickle British weather dampened hopes of an immediate boom, leading some to write off the season.
But business has slowly picked up, and the government’s announcement on Sunday that those traveling from Spain now need to self-isolate for 14 days following a spike in cases has further boosted prospects.
With the threat of other countries joining the list as cases rise across Europe, many are considering “staycations” in Britain rather than risk having to self-isolate for two weeks, particularly those who cannot work from home.
Carry on camping
“A UK staycation…carries much less disruptive risk,” Jane Pendlebury, executive director of the Hospitality Professionals Association, a hotel industry association, told AFP.
“Of course, the threat of regional outbreaks is real, but the restrictions imposed won’t be as impactful — with returning home from within the UK far easier than doing so from abroad.
“Whilst we can’t necessarily offer the same weather as the Balearics or the Canaries, what we can do is offer exceptional hospitality — albeit with necessary precautions in place,” she added.
Tour operator TUI has taken the blanket decision to cancel all its planned holidays to mainland Spain until August 9.
Meanwhile, British campsites and holiday home operators, such as Sykes Cottages, have enjoyed a surge in bookings.
“News of Spain’s travel restrictions at the weekend resulted in a 53 percent year-on-year rise in bookings,” Sykes’ chief executive Graham Donoghue told the BBC.
“We’re also seeing a steady stream of bookings for holidays in 2021 too,” he added.
The Whitbread group, which owns the Premier Inn hotel chain, said it had seen strong demand in summer bookings for hotel rooms in tourist hotspots since the beginning of July.
The exclusive department store Fortnum and Mason is even offering a dedicated “perfect staycation” package — including a picnic basket, champagne and tea, of course.
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