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Coronavirus (COVID-19): impact on staycations in the UK - statistics & facts

During a staycation, travelers choose to take a holiday in their home nation instead of traveling abroad. This could also include staying at home and visiting local attractions. Staycations are also known as domestic or local tourism. During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, travel restrictions and efforts to control the spread of the virus meant long-distance or international trips were no longer feasible for many travelers in the United Kingdom. Therefore, staycations became especially relevant during this time. When asked about UK residents’ upcoming travel plans during the pandemic, one-third of respondents had already planned to take their holidays within the UK.

COVID-19 impact on UK staycations

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, domestic travel was already popular in the United Kingdom. Domestic travel spending in the UK showed an increase in the years leading up to the pandemic, reaching nearly 25 billion British pounds in 2019. Although domestic travel was often the primary option for vacationers in the UK in 2020, domestic travel spending that year was still forecast to fall as a result of the pandemic.

While domestic travel in general declined, staycations grew in popularity and interest. The holiday-related search term with the highest growth in the UK following the COVID-19 lockdown was “staycation”. This term soared in popularity and saw year-over-year growth of over 500 percent in 2020. Many of the other fastest-growing search terms were for holidays in various regions within the UK, such as Northumberland and the Peak District. When asked “Would you say the current pandemic has made you more or less likely to take a holiday elsewhere in the UK?” the public response was resoundingly neutral. Nearly half of UK respondents, 43 percent, indicated there was no real change in their desire to travel domestically, while 28 percent were more likely to take a holiday within the UK due to the pandemic.

Outlook for staycations in the UK

No matter how quickly international travel resumes after the pandemic, it appears that staycations will remain an integral part of the travel sector in the United Kingdom. When travel restrictions were lifted in 2020, the holiday destination with the highest YoY growth in Google searches was the UK. Additionally, many UK residents began to plan domestic vacations during 2020, with a majority of surveyed respondents having planned domestic travel in the UK for the end of 2020 and even 2021. It is uncertain how quickly international travel will recover following COVID-19 as there are many factors influencing decisions to travel. For the UK public, factors most affecting decisions to travel included having a vaccine, not having to quarantine, and declining global case numbers. Staycations within the UK remain a possible and popular option until these factors are met.

Key figures

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Impact of COVID-19 on UK travel

Domestic travel in the UK

Other interesting statistics

Coronavirus (COVID-19): impact on staycations in the UK - statistics & facts

During a staycation, travelers choose to take a holiday in their home nation instead of traveling abroad. This could also include staying at home and visiting local attractions. Staycations are also known as domestic or local tourism. During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, travel restrictions and efforts to control the spread of the virus meant long-distance or international trips were no longer feasible for many travelers in the United Kingdom. Therefore, staycations became especially relevant during this time. When asked about UK residents’ upcoming travel plans during the pandemic, one-third of respondents had already planned to take their holidays within the UK.

COVID-19 impact on UK staycations

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, domestic travel was already popular in the United Kingdom. Domestic travel spending in the UK showed an increase in the years leading up to the pandemic, reaching nearly 25 billion British pounds in 2019. Although domestic travel was often the primary option for vacationers in the UK in 2020, domestic travel spending that year was still forecast to fall as a result of the pandemic.

While domestic travel in general declined, staycations grew in popularity and interest. The holiday-related search term with the highest growth in the UK following the COVID-19 lockdown was “staycation”. This term soared in popularity and saw year-over-year growth of over 500 percent in 2020. Many of the other fastest-growing search terms were for holidays in various regions within the UK, such as Northumberland and the Peak District. When asked “Would you say the current pandemic has made you more or less likely to take a holiday elsewhere in the UK?” the public response was resoundingly neutral. Nearly half of UK respondents, 43 percent, indicated there was no real change in their desire to travel domestically, while 28 percent were more likely to take a holiday within the UK due to the pandemic.

Outlook for staycations in the UK

No matter how quickly international travel resumes after the pandemic, it appears that staycations will remain an integral part of the travel sector in the United Kingdom. When travel restrictions were lifted in 2020, the holiday destination with the highest YoY growth in Google searches was the UK. Additionally, many UK residents began to plan domestic vacations during 2020, with a majority of surveyed respondents having planned domestic travel in the UK for the end of 2020 and even 2021. It is uncertain how quickly international travel will recover following COVID-19 as there are many factors influencing decisions to travel. For the UK public, factors most affecting decisions to travel included having a vaccine, not having to quarantine, and declining global case numbers. Staycations within the UK remain a possible and popular option until these factors are met.

Other interesting statistics

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