The number of domestic tourists from Wales planning to spend more time on holiday in the UK will surge by 32% this year, fuelled by millennials looking to escape from their smartphones and social media, according to a new report from Barclays Corporate Banking.
Hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions can expect to enjoy a bumper year as visitors are expected to flock to Britain’s coast, countryside and cities, as domestic tourism enjoys something of new golden era.
The report, which surveyed more than 2,000 British holiday makers 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.
The ‘selfie generation’ of 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.
Most popular locations
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%).
Staycation demand from visitors to Wales to increase by 33%
Barclays’ report found that businesses in the region are also witnessing increased demand. In Wales, 50% of those surveyed said they had seen an increase in domestic tourism since 2017, and 40% of Welsh 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 & Leisure’s contribution to the local economy
Hospitality businesses are already seeing their local economy benefit from increasing demand for domestic holidays. In Wales, 50% have seen employment opportunities improve, 27% have seen an increase in the number of hospitality businesses in their area and 35% have seen an increase in 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, Karen Thomas, Head of Barclays Corporate Banking for South Wales, said:
“It’s very encouraging to see that domestic tourism is thriving with more and more Welsh 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 the UK.”
Areas of business investment
In the past five years, businesses have focused investment on new technology and new trends such as a desire for quintessentially British experiences.
In Wales, 24% of businesses have invested in ‘nostalgic activities’ such as traditional cream teas, and 16% have invested in experiential offerings such as wine tasting or local tours. A much smaller percentage of businesses are investing in health holidays (4%), yoga retreats (6%) or digital detox retreats (4%) which are key motivations for 25-34-year-olds to choose a staycation in the UK.
With convenience a key reason for Britons to choose to stay in the UK, businesses have also been investing in digital services that create more seamless user experiences. Of those that have invested in Wales, 56%, have done so in the last two years. 36% of businesses in the UK say they have introduced free services including smartphone check-in, payment via wearable technology, or location-specific notifications about offers and discounts.