Summer is well on its way, and that means countless holidaymakers across the country and preparing for their vacations, packing their cases with suntan lotion and bathing suits and heading off to sunny Spain or dazzling Disneyland. But for countless more, this year holidays mean sampling the delights of home – and you can thank Brexit for the current rise in popularity.It seems the humble stay-at-home vacation, or ‘staycation’, is experiencing a renaissance, if figures from the UK’s leading holiday parks is anything to go by. Last year, it’s estimated that those parks raked in a colossal £2.7 billion.
Once the mainstay of the British holiday period – think Pontins and Butlins – the popularity of staycations wildly fluctuated until the years following the recent credit crunch recession. Since then, they’ve become the main way for those on a tighter budget, it’s the perfect way to get some much-needed R&R without breaking the bank.
And at a time when we’re facing economic uncertainty, that popularity looks set to continue in 2017. In part, that’s because the pound’s value has slumped against currencies like the dollar, which means staying in the UK is vastly more attractive, since holidays abroad would cost British holidaymakers far more.
According to a report from Ortus Secured Finance, 2016 saw a 9% increase in turnover for the UK’s top 100 caravan, camping and holiday parks. That gives a figure of £2.67 billion; five years ago, that figure sat at £2.46 billion.
Discussing the rise in staycations, John Salisbury, managing director of Ortus Secured Finance, said:
‘Caravan, camping and holiday parks are going from strength to strength, combining value for money with high standard facilities to maximise the guest experience. The recession and the ensuing trend for ‘staycations’ gave holiday parks, camping and caravan sites access to an even broader customer base, and they have been building on this ever since.’
That increase in staycation bookings have also turned the eye of investors keen to get in on the staycation action, with plenty of private equity deals across the industry: The UK’s largest caravan operator, Parkdean Resorts, was recently sold for £1.35 billion, while Park Leisure and Park Holidays have been sold for £103 million and £362 million, respectively.
Salisbury added that this investment was crucial for continuing the staycation boom:
‘Like many other businesses in the tourism, leisure and hospitality industries, operators need to commit to continued capital investment in order to maintain competitiveness and stay ahead of the game. As the market increasingly demands not only well-maintained everyday amenities but luxury add-ons like wood-fired showers, pools, games rooms and wifi, this opens up significant opportunities to generate more revenue and fuel growth. Alternative sources of funding are playing a critical role here, enabling businesses to access the [capital]they need to deliver the high-quality facilities that many guests have come to expect.’
And that’s great news for those looking for cheaper holidays in Britain, rather than breaking the bank by going abroad, offering more investment into existing resorts while potentially expanding options. Oh, and there’s not so much queuing at the airport, either, when you choose a staycation.