Welcome news for Yorkshire tourism as ‘staycations’ on rise

Coastal destinations such as Scarborough were the most popular among those surveyed.
Coastal destinations such as Scarborough were the most popular among those surveyed.

There was a time when the British seaside was king and the nation’s countryside held a special allure for families and couples alike.

As package holidays to sunnier climes and cheap flights to European cities became all the rage, it looked as though those days could be gone for good.

Kerry Roy, owner of Camp Katur, on The Camphill Estate.

Kerry Roy, owner of Camp Katur, on The Camphill Estate.

But the UK break is booming, with survey findings released today highlighting the ‘staycation’ economy as one of the strongest performing in the UK.

It comes as the Government announces a £40m fund to deliver new tourism outside London and publishes its Tourism Action Plan.

Prime Minister Theresa May said: “Tourism is vitally important to the UK and the sector goes from strength to strength. Our stunning scenery, centuries-old monuments and cultural traditions continue to draw visitors from both home and abroad.”

The survey by Barclays Business found 70 per cent of UK adults have been on or are planning a staycation, and they are spending six per cent more per holiday than last year.

A narrow boat stops just before Lock 3 at St Ann Ings Lock on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal.

A narrow boat stops just before Lock 3 at St Ann Ings Lock on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal.

It revealed Britons were spending £22.1bn on staycations, with the average amount spent per party increasing from £575 last year to £613

The trend has been noted by Grassington House, which offers rooms alongside its award-winning restaurant in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales.

Receptionist Kirsten Watson said: “In the last year or so, we’ve definitely noticed an increase in home visitors.”

She said Grassington was a timeless village, but events like the Tour de Yorkshire had helped to broaden the area’s appeal.

City destinations like Leeds were the third most popular.

City destinations like Leeds were the third most popular.

While the survey found price and concern over terror attacks abroad were factors, the most common reasons for choosing staycations were liking to explore the country and wanting fun experiences in the UK.

Camp Katur, a glamping site in the grounds of North Yorkshire’s Camp Hill Estate, aims to offer just that with teepees, a hobbit hut and the unidome – a 360 degree clear panoramic dome.

Owner Kerry Roy said: “This is our fourth season. We’ve always managed to fill weekends and school holidays but this has been our best so far. Our enquiry rate has gone up 50 per cent.

“There are a lot more alternative accommodation sites that are starting to appeal to people. Our guests want an experience.”

Some 1,250 new food and accommodation businesses have opened in Yorkshire in the first half of the year alone, according to the research.

Food and accommodation now accounts for 4.1 per cent of all income for the region’s small and medium-sized businesses.

Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “These figures are extremely encouraging and I am thrilled to see the resurgence of staycations is boosting the takings of many of our county’s businesses.

“It is fantastic to see our accommodation and food sector are doing particularly well.”

Adam Rowse, head of business banking at Barclays, said the increased spend presented a huge opportunity.

“With a weaker pound, UK SMEs are also likely to see a rise in overseas holidaymakers coming to the UK,” he added.