Staycations set to slash UK’s £30.5bn tourism ‘deficit’ 

The rise in staycations this summer is set to provide “much-needed” respite for the UK’s travel and hospitality sectors, cutting its tourism “deficit” by £30.5bn. 

According to new research by the Resolution Foundation, cities such as London and Manchester will “lose out”, however.

Its report nonetheless found that compared to other European countries, the UK will benefit “significantly” from the staycation boom, due to the “comparatively high” proportion of British people who typically holiday abroad and spend far more doing so than overseas tourists spend in the UK.

In Cumbria, 85% of the total nights spent in the region’s tourist accommodation were taken by British tourists before the pandemic. It was similar in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly where 83% of nights spent in tourism accommodation came from UK-based tourists, while this was 78% in Devon and 79% in West Wales and the Valleys.

Cities will however “see less of a boost” from staycations. In London, more than 90% of the nights spent in the city’s tourist accommodation were typically taken by foreign tourists, while this was 71% in Manchester.

The survey ultimately found that the staycation boom will provide “vital relief” for the UK’s travel and hospitality sectors this year, as more stay within the UK.

Nye Cominetti, senior economist at the Resolution Foundation, said: “An expected boom in ‘staycation’ holidays will provide some much-needed relief for the UK’s hospitality industry this Summer, with areas such as West Wales, Devon, Cornwall and the Lake District set to do especially well from a rise in UK tourists choosing to explore their own country, rather than jet off abroad.

“But while another staycation summer will help to reduce the UK’s £30.5 billion trade tourism deficit, the hospitality sector – and the near two million workers employed in it – still face huge challenges going forward.”

He added: “Supporting the disproportionately young and low-paid workers who rely on the hospitality industry should remain a priority, especially when both the British summer – and the furlough scheme – ends.”

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