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The travel industry has become one of the hardest-hit sectors amid the coronavirus pandemic as travel corridors and quarantine restrictions saw many Britons now ditching their dreams of a foreign getaway. However, during this time it seems staycations saw a boost as Britons rediscovered the “charm” of the nation.
It’s a trend which experts from comparison website Booking.com believe is set to stay.
According to their research, before the pandemic, just nine percent of holidaymakers planned to stay at a campsite, while 70 percent were anticipating staying in a traditional Hotels.
Yet following the end of the spring lockdown, campsites across the UK found themselves reaching capacity for the summer months and into the Autumn.
“In a new Coronavirus world, local travel has risen to the fore as it remains easier, safer and happily often more sustainable,” Ryan Pearson, regional manager at Booking.com told Express.co.uk.
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“As a result of tighter restrictions on travel, in particular international travel, plans have changed drastically in 2020,” he said.
“However, this has also subsequently given travellers the opportunity to explore closer to home, with Brits rediscovering the charm of the UK this year.”
As a result of 2020’s travel bans, a number of UK hotspots stood out as “stand-out stars”, and likely will continue to attract guests in the coming year.
“This year saw the traditional British seaside destinations experiencing a relative increase in interest from travellers, with Portree, Highlands; Ilfracombe, Devon; Paignton, Devon; Skegness, Lincolnshire and Newquay, Cornwall being the domestic destinations that were the summer 2020’s stand-out stars,” continued Mr Pearson.
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“Looking ahead, staying closer to home and becoming familiarists rather than tourists will continue to be at the forefront of travel agendas.
“47 percent of people still plan to travel within their own country in the medium term (7-12 months’ time), with 38 percent planning to do so in the longer term (in over a year’s time).
“When it comes to local travel, 43 percent plan to explore a new destination within their home region/country and 46 percent will take the time to appreciate the natural beauty of their home country, while – locally or not, half intend to travel somewhere they’ve already been previously for its familiarity.”
Despite this, Mr Pearson does believe an appetite for international travel will remain.
“Travel is fundamental to who we are. It is enriching, allows us to experience new places, learn about other cultures, make incredible memories, bond with loved ones and so much more,” he said.
“So, whilst it may take some time to return to pre-COVID-19 levels, we know that people will want to experience the world again, all of it perhaps in a more meaningful and conscious way than ever before.”
Similarly, Arjan Dijk, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Booking.com added: “2020 has been a year like no other and while it will be some time before travel returns to pre-pandemic levels, all signs point to the fundamental and enduring role that travel plays in all our lives.
“It continues to bring moments of joy and inspiration to people across the globe during times of uncertainty, whether through dreaming and planning, or cherishing the trips we have been able to take.
“Enhancing our understanding of one another and our common desire to explore beyond the horizon, I believe that travel has a unique potential to come back stronger than ever in the years ahead as a primary driver of growth, equality and prosperity for people everywhere.”
Though there is certainly a road to recovery ahead, Mr Pearson is positive the travel industry has already provided its resilience.
“Whilst the global pandemic has had an immense impact on the industry, the industry is resilient and will certainly bounce back,” he said.
“We have overcome other travel crises, including the SARS outbreak and of course 9/11, and we know from previous experience that people will one day travel again when it is safe and appropriate to do so.”
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