UK tourism firms say they have seen a huge increase in bookings ahead of the summer holidays starting in England as eager holidaymakers prepare to escape their lockdown homes.
Boris Johnson announced this week he was cutting the two-metre rule to “one metre-plus” and allowing visitors to stay away overnight from 4 July in a move that came as a “huge relief” to tourism businesses.
Tens of thousands of hotels and B&Bs are now preparing to open their doors on a day that has been hailed by the Caravan and Motorhome Club as “super Saturday”.
The campsite booking website coolcamping.com said it has had one of its biggest ever surges in traffic – a 750 per cent increase in bookings compared with this time last year.
Rush to escape on holiday
A spokesman said the most popular areas for bookings are the Lake District and the South West of England, but it is also seeing increasing demand from people looking for “quieter and more remote locations in a bid to beat the crowds”, with a “dramatic” increase in searches for wild and remote campsites.
Nick Lomas, director general of the Caravan and Motorhome Club said: “Bookings are already up by over 35 per cent this summer, making it clear that campers, caravanners, motorhomers and campervanners are keen to get to get into the great outdoors.”
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The hotel chain Best Western has also reported a 700 per cent rise in bookings since the Prime Minister’s announcement on Monday.
A spokesman for UKHospitality said its members were reporting that bookings have risen “significantly”. He said: “Businesses are by no means out of the woods so getting out of the blocks quickly is going to be key to their recovery.”
Domestic tourism boom expected as tens of millions plan to holiday in UK (Photo: AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
‘We’re good to go’
Up to 5,000 tourism businesses have registered for VisitBritain’s “We’re Good to Go” platform to say they are ready to reopen with Covid-19 safety measures in place.
VisitBritain’s director Patricia Yates said: “The industry is raring to go and we have been hearing anecdotally that some tourism businesses have seen bookings flooding in since the Prime Minister made his announcement, demonstrating the pent-up demand for Brits to book a staycation this year.
“Our priority is to make sure tourism rebounds to once again become one of the most successful sectors of the UK economy and providing this ‘ring of confidence’ is a crucial step on the industry’s road to rebuilding.”
The chief executives of the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales national parks have backed called by South Lakes MP Tim Farron for extra Government support for tourism businesses.
David Butterworth, the chief executive of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, said: “There is a great opportunity for Government to show practical support for this sector that will pay dividends for years to come.”