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UK holidaymakers will ditch the beach for countryside in 2022

New data suggests the UK staycation boom is set to continue into 2022, but Brits are changing their destination preferences, with the countryside overtaking the coast

With Google searches for ‘UK staycations’ up 23% compared to last year, national holiday home provider Park Leisure explored both industry and internal booking data to pick out travel trends for the year ahead.

Using these statistics, Lisa Williams, Director of Marketing & Holiday Sales at Park Leisure, has picked out four key predictions for 2022, alongside the continued popularity of staycations.

Countryside getaways growing in popularity

Whilst coastal areas are popular hotspots, data from Park Leisure suggests countryside escapes are going to become more popular with staycationers. Over the past year, arrivals to Park Leisure resorts in Yorkshire and Herefordshire, close to the countryside, increased by 95%, possibly due to the mental health and wellbeing benefits of the great outdoors.Lisa says: “Our coastal resorts have always been popular but the past year has seen a considerable spike in the parks with more access to the countryside.

Over lockdown, many of us made a habit of getting out for walks and, as a result, developed a strong affinity to escaping into nature.“For some, we imagine these holidays also provide a bit more of a break from the bustle of everyday life than the coastal locations, as people tend to visit beaches in droves during summer. Opting for a countryside location is a way to evade that.”

Cornwall remains a holiday hotspot

A popular destination most summers, last year saw an estimated 210,000 visitors flock to the Cornish coast. Data from Park Leisure reflects this, showing a 9% YOY increase in visits over the summer of 2021 and the holiday operator expects the popularity to continue.

Lisa says: “Cornwall is always popular with our holidaymakers, especially over the past couple of years, and we expect to see this continue throughout 2022. As people have either rekindled or discovered their love for the UK, we’ll see them returning to places they’ve enjoyed time and time again and Cornwall will be a key area for this.”

Holidaymakers are keen to support the local economy

The importance of supporting local economies has become extremely clear over the past 18 months. It doesn’t stop when people go on holiday. Data from Booking.com shows 67% of people want the money they spend while travelling to go back to the local community .Lisa adds: “Local tourism is key to us and our customers so it’s vital that we continue to promote local business as part of our tour guides and food menus. Not only does this help business owners, but it also gives holidaymakers the opportunity to have authentic experiences that reflect the local culture, something that is key to creating a memorable holiday.”

Pets are getting in on the action

Bringing a pet along on holiday is now a common occurrence. Owners are now more reluctant than ever to leave them at home, having spent so much time together during the lockdown. Google searches for dog-friendly staycations are up 143% compared to last year. It is showing a clear spike in interest for pets to join in on the fun. This is something Park Leisure expects to continue in 2022 and beyond.

Lisa comments: “Staycations are perfect for bringing pets along to experience the holiday and lockdown has only amplified that. Next year we’ll be seeing more and more options for pet-friendly holidays, and we don’t expect that to change any time soon.

“All of our holiday parks are pet-friendly but soon this won’t be the only thing owners look for – we expect pet-friendly experiences to become popular, with organised events and activities solely for pets. In 2022, holidaymakers may include such experiences on their list of criteria when choosing a destination.”

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