“Living room fatigue” marks the end of the great British summer holiday boom

“Living room fatigue” marks the end of the great British summer holiday boom

“Living room fatigue” marks the end of the great British summer holiday boom

British living room - fotoVoyager / iStockphotoo

British living room – fotoVoyager / iStockphotoo

The holiday home boom is over, tourism chiefs said, as they blame “stay fatigue” for a drop in bookings even in the UK’s most popular destinations.

Covid restrictions on international travel meant last year, in particular, was a bumper year for hotspots like Cornwall, which were exploding in 2021.

But with the lifting of the restrictions, British tourists are heading overseas in large numbers, thanks to the pent-up demand for travel in foreign climates among so-called “recovered consumers”.

The prospect of airport delays and flight cancellations has also not deterred people from going overseas, leaving the number of visitors to UK destinations below pre-pandemic levels.

Travel agents are reporting a marked increase in the popularity of vacation packages, while domestic companies said they still have vacancies for August.

All parts of the travel industry, however, are concerned that the full impact of the cost of living crisis is yet to come, with many people booking their holidays before they started feeling the squeeze.

Porthleven Beach Cornwall - Corbis Documentary RF

Porthleven Beach Cornwall – Corbis Documentary RF

Malcolm Bell, chief executive of Visit Cornwall, said: “We are nowhere near the numbers from last year. Last year, to be honest, we had more clients than we could handle. But now it’s back to trying to attract visitors.

“Some seats have five or 10% free seats, while normally in August if people were looking for a last minute booking, there would be nothing.

“There has been a bit of living-room fatigue after the last two years where people had no choice but to stay in Britain. Now people are either deciding to go abroad or are waiting to go abroad once they know if they can afford it. “

Mr. Bell said May and June were quieter than expected, while the summer was slightly below pre-pandemic levels. Fall reservations, traditionally the preserve of retirees, are feared to be weak.

“This is a major course correction after the past two years,” he said.

The picture is the same in the Lake District, where Cumbria tourism said 55% of resort businesses report a decline in bookings over an average year.

Norfolk and Suffolk had cottage waiting lists this time last year, but now they have vacant seats. In Devon, the demand would be “well below the norm”.

Cannes France - George Pachantouris / Moment RF

Cannes France – George Pachantouris / Moment RF

As a result, UK holiday prices have fallen, with cost-conscious tourists refusing to pay the kind of inflated prices that operators were able to charge last year.

Mr. Bell said: “Last year, people were just calling, booking and paying the fare. This year they ask about costs before going any further.”

He said last-minute cancellations are becoming common when people decide they can no longer afford a vacation: “The difference in the cost of energy bills between this year and last year is the cost of a vacation.”

According to Abta, which represents travel agencies, overseas vacation bookings are close to pre-pandemic levels, even though the industry has been far more severely affected by Covid than the domestic holiday trade.

Pre-departure testing for people leaving the UK was only phased out in mid-March, and some countries maintained Covid restrictions afterwards. But the pent-up demand for overseas stays showed the number of people going overseas this summer.

Young people, in particular, are desperately trying to make up for lost time and have been defined as “catching up consumers” by travel items.

London Heathrow Airport Outage - Steve Parsons / PA Wire

London Heathrow Airport Outage – Steve Parsons / PA Wire

Many are turning to vacation packages because they want the safety net of being able to change their entire vacation schedule with a phone call if they catch Covid or if there is a problem at their destination.

Airbnb also posted record profits thanks to the return of overseas breaks, with a 58% increase for the second quarter of this year compared to the same period last year.

Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive Officer of Abta, said: “Since the beginning of the year, the constant removal of travel restrictions in the UK and around the world has made it much easier to travel and has sparked a lot of pent-up demand for overseas. breaks.

“Abta members have had excellent bookings for this year and next, and our own research also shows that the appetite for travel is approaching 2019 levels.”

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