Yorkshire tourism businesses hope for staycation boom as holidaymakers shun overseas travel

Tourism businesses in Yorkshire are hoping to capitalise on a wave of visitors outside the traditional summer season amid predictions that holidaymakers are looking to continue booking vacations within the UK.

Last year witnessed a boom in so-called staycations amid the uncertainty for overseas travel due to restrictions imposed during the coronavirus pandemic.

January is traditionally a month when holiday-makers look towards organising trips in the wake of the festive period, and early indications have shown that bookings are now extending outside of the main tourism season which starts in April.

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Staff at The Burgoyne Hotel in Reeth in the Yorkshire Dales have witnessed repeat bookings already, with occupancy rates running at up to 50 per cent throughout the next three months – which is double the normal rates.

Owner Ian Hewitt at the Burgoyne Hotel in the centre of Reeth in Swaledale. The hotel has seen a growing number of bookings in the traditionally quieter months at the start of the year, prompting hopes the tourism sector will once again benefit from a boom in staycations. (Picture Tony Johnson)

The 11-room hotel’s marketing manager, Rachael Owen, said: “There are still a lot of questions over overseas travel, and everyone wants to get back to normal as soon as possible. But there are some positives for the tourism industry in the UK as more people are looking to book staycations, and we are obviously pleased that people are choosing to stay and explore the Dales.

“While we are waiting to see just how busy this summer will be, we have already had bookings for June. A lot of people seem to be waiting to see what the situation will be, but I am optimistic we will see another busy time.”

The Welcome to Yorkshire tourism agency witnessed a surge in interest in the region from holiday-makers last year.

Research by the organisation showed its official website saw a four per cent increase in users and a 5.4 per cent growth in visits, with a 10 per cent rise in people searching for events, as well as a 4.3 per cent increase in people searching for attractions to visit.

The busiest months were from May and peaked in August, according to Welcome to Yorkshire’s chairman, Peter Box.

He said: “Many accommodation businesses across the county saw a real positive increase in interest in people holidaying in the county and domestic holidays at large, with some hospitality venues seeing a surge in bookings in 2021, particularly throughout the summer.

“With overseas travel continuing to look uncertain in many areas of the world, it’s crucial to feel safe whilst enjoying trips and holidays across our fabulous county, and to support Yorkshire’s brilliant businesses and amazing attractions.”

Welcome to Yorkshire has launched a campaign, the Yorkshire Menu, to promote the region’s food and drink to attract more visitors this year.

Tourism in the Yorkshire region is worth £9bn a year, and 224,000 workers are employed in the sector.