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Are staycations here to stay?

Alice Bonas, a specialist in planning and development at GSC Grays, gives her view as to whether now is a good time to diversify to meet the current ‘staycation’ demand.


Tourism is a supply and demand business and the restrictions brought about by Covid have increased demand, as people look to escape their own 4 walls for a staycation experience with a difference.  These holidays have certainly been making headlines but with the increase in demand and surge in prices is domestic tourism here to stay?

Bookings have remained strong with glamping and camping specialist, Canopy & Stars, seeing reservations for July and August up 50% from 2019; for self-catering property bookings site Oliver’s Travels, bookings increased by 153% – even as international travel began to reopen.

Should international travel restrictions, including Covid testing costs, remain next summer, then UK holidays may well prove just as popular. The consensus among travel experts is that booking a sought-after self-catering staycation now, with a provider that offers good cancellation terms, will ensure the best price and widest options.

We have seen an increase in the number of enquiries from landowners looking to diversify. The North East offers wide-ranging landscapes for people to enjoy from the coastal dunes in Northumberland to the hills and valleys of the Yorkshire Dales., However, landowners must look into the planning requirements for their diversification proposal, before they progress too far as there may be planning restrictions that clients need to be aware of.

There is certainly the demand from the public for rural getaways.  Established businesses that already have the infrastructure and experience in place, are probably keen to expand to meet the demand. Those starting from scratch will not only have to consider matters such as infrastructure, ongoing management, and staffing requirements but planning and development obligations as imposed by the Local Planning Authority. Any diversification project needs to be right for you and your existing business in the long term.

My advice is that if you’re going to diversify you need to establish your market and make sure that you will be able to develop a product that matches it.  We are able to advise on a range of issues which need to be considered including planning advice but also the impact on the wider business and the way in which existing enterprises might have to adapt.

The truth is none of us know what is going to happen to the travel industry over the coming years, but until other countries get on top of Covid, there is likely to remain increased demand for staycations.  What you can control is the approach taken to the project.  It will most likely succeed if you have researched it properly and are realistic about what is needed to make it happen.  The North East provides the perfect place for a staycation and we would be delighted to help you capitalise on that.



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