A future-gazing report by holiday experts Haulfryn Group, titled The Way We Holiday Now, explores the impact of cultural shifts on holidays such as responsible tourism, slow travel and wellness that have gained further traction since Brexit and the pandemic.
What we expect from a holiday today is very different from 85 years ago, but some things remain true. The report takes a deep dive into Brits’ greater appreciation of the UK and a desire to holiday closer to home in this new era of responsible tourism, sustainable and sympathetic development.
Our yearning to be closer to green spaces and natural environments has increased our pursuits to holiday in beautiful scenic locations with fresh air and private space to escape routine life with our nearest and dearest.
The report’s survey unveiled 52% of Brits appreciate holidays in the UK more than ever before. Some 74% of respondents who own or have access to a UK holiday home appreciate it more than ever before after the last year.
What’s more, some 32% have a greater appreciation of the UK since the pandemic and/or Brexit.
Echo Lu, chief executive officer of Haulfryn, comments: “The UK holiday sector is having a defining moment. Whilst this moment has been coming for some time, there is no doubt that the combination of the pandemic, Brexit and the climate crisis have accelerated this new era that we find ourselves in.”
“The past few months have shown us the benefits of slowing down and pursuing simple pleasures – escaping routine lives to enjoy beautiful natural scenery with our loved ones. That is how the UK holiday began and is where we return to 85 years later, as Brits really appreciate the joy of now.”
From the report, the changing lifestyle of holidaymakers became clear.
It’s no secret that we are a nation of animal lovers, and it is estimated that 3.2 million British households got a new pet since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, many of them dogs. The UK’s newly expanded canine population is causing a greater demand for dog-friendly holiday accommodation too.
Historically, the typical holiday home buyer is in their 50s, having reached the point at which they can afford it after 20-30 years of saving, or by releasing equity from their family home. In recent years, the early draw-down of pension pots (at age 55) has been another route.
However, there is anecdotal evidence across the industry that buyers are getting younger, especially of properties in family-friendly, activity-oriented holiday parks.
Anecdotally, multi-generational or ‘3G’ holidays have been one of the fastest-growing trends in the tourism industry, and Covid-19 is likely to add further momentum. The extended isolation of the pandemic has intensified the sense of wanting to gather and re-focus our priorities on what matters most to us.
A fifth of survey respondents said they wanted to holiday more with their loved ones as the last year has highlighted how important they are.
Staycations: the joy of exploring closer to home
Lockdown discoveries have made many of us appreciate what is closer to home. The appetite for a much-needed change of scene means that over half of survey respondents said they appreciate holidays in the UK more than ever before.
UK over Europe
There is almost certainly going to be a lasting swing back towards the staycation. The drop in the value of the sterling in the past five years has impacted our spending power in Europe; whilst the economic impact of the pandemic has dented many household budgets.
Now that Brexit has happened, our transit through passport control will typically take longer, stays within the Schengen area are limited to 90 days per every 180, and we cannot buy overseas holiday homes as cheaply as we once did.
Avoiding extra hassle and healthcare-related issues are clear priorities picked up by the survey. In the past year, 44% of people chose a UK staycation over a holiday abroad in the light of the pandemic and/or Brexit because they felt safer, whilst 35% did so because it was easier.
The necessity of PCR tests, the impact of new variants on travel plans and the risk factor of being stuck abroad are all increasing the appeal of a UK break, especially in a naturally safe environment with plenty of fresh air, space and privacy.
Running alongside our political isolation from the continent has been our increasing awareness of our impact on climate change, and for some a conscious decision to reduce the flights we take and pursue responsible tourism.
For more information on UK staycations, you can visit Haulfryn Group’s website.