Staycation nation: UK's top 20 holiday hotspots experiencing £12bn domestic tourism boost

Britain is GREAT: The UK's top 20 holiday destinations vary from bustling cities to rural retreats

Despite a grey and rainy past few days, more hot weather is reportedly on the horizon and the UK’s hospitality and tourism businesses are already cashing in: The ‘staycation’ trend is bigger than ever, with 41 million Brits choosing to holiday at home this year.

According to a survey of 3,000 Britons by budget hotel chain Travelodge, 65 per cent of British adults are taking a staycation this year – up from 41 per cent last year and 35 per cent in 2011.

As a result, the country’s top 20 favourite holiday locations (scroll down for interactive map) will see an economic boost of more than £12bn between them, with Travelodge boss Grant Hearn claiming ‘this is the start of our 2012 Olympic legacy gain’.

“The Staycation trend accelerating to record levels and boosting our economy by £12 billion this year is a welcome sign,” said Hearn, who last week announced he would be leaving the hotel group.

And the economic boost is not just confined to the big cities – more than 17 million Brits are expected to visit one of the nine rural locations that appear in the top 20 destinations list. The total spend from these visits will inject an extra £5.2bn into these rural economies.

Interactive map: Top 20 staycation destinations

View UK staycation destinations 2013 in a larger map

City locations account for six of the top 20 destinations, with capital cities London (4.2 million UK holiday visits in 2013) and Edinburgh (4.1million) respectively dominating the top places in the 2013 Staycation charts.

The most popular rural destination is the Lake District, with 3.2 million annual holidaymakers set to boost the local economy by almost £1bn. Other popular rural locations are the Scottish Highlands and Dorset.

The recent spell of hot weatheralso brought a welcome boost for many of the nation’s hotels, restaurants and pubs,and the UK’s bellweather seaside destinations have been reaping the benefits, with five coastal locations benefiting from £3bn in domestic tourism spend.

Cornwall is expected to have 3.2 million visitors by the end of the year, boosting the local economy by £972 million; Devon is benefitting from £640 million thanks to 2.1 million holidaymakers; and Blackpool’s 1.8 million visitors are boosting the town’s local economy by £550 million.

Taking tourism seriously

When citing reasons for choosing to holiday at home, a third of respondents stated that it is cheaper to holiday in the UK than abroad plus it is better value for money. With this coming as such good news for the country’s hospitality and tourism industries, Hearn added that ‘we cannot sit on our laurels’.

“As one of Britain’s biggest business sectors, the opportunity to grow is still great,” he said. “We are no way near to unlocking the true potential of our industry.

“British tourism needs to be treated like a series business sector and Government needs to move our industry from the Department of Culture Media & Sports to the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills. Lack of immediate action is costing jobs, growth and investment.”  

Travelodge’s survey is backed up by research from hotel comparison website Trivago. Based on searches for holidays between 1 June and 30 September, 16 of the top 50 most popular destinations are situated in the UK – a sharp increase from 2012, when only two UK destinations featured on the list.

London has moved from the 10th most popular destination in 2012 to the number one this year. Other UK areas in the top 20 are Edinburgh, Manchester, York, Liverpool, Brightonand Glasgow.

How did the recent hot weather affected your business? Are sales on the up as more people are choosing to holiday at home? Let us know by voting in our poll and leaving a comment below.

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