Region’s holiday firms say investment has turned staycation fad into lasting change in getaway patterns
- Credit: Archant © 2009
Holiday firms in the region say major investment has turned the post-recession staycation trend into a lasting shift in holidaymakers' attitudes.
Seven years ago, with recession fears rife, travellers began to steer away from venturing abroad, opting instead for breaks on domestic shores - leading to 2009 becoming the year of the so-called staycation.
Since then, experts have put their continued popularity down to fluctuating exchange rates, terrorism fears and the headache of travel - with Visit England recording that Britons' foreign trips were still 16pc lower in 2015 than before the recession.
But far from a passing fad, Simon Altham, managing director of Lowestoft-based holiday company Hoseasons, said the desire to stay on British shores was now a 'long term' industry change.
'It's very easy to focus on one or two areas, such as what is happening overseas,' he said. 'But it is complex - factors change and the staycation continues to gain momentum.
You may also want to watch:
'Investment in the sector has been unprecedented and I think it would be wrong to think this is just a consumer-led trend.
'Customers are more discerning than ever and companies are investing to make sure they are giving them what they want.'
- 1 'We haven't slept': Primark shoppers queue outside city store from 3am
- 2 People queue at Norwich Primark an hour before 7am reopening
- 3 Couple sell 'amazing' converted water mill after two-year renovation
- 4 Hospital's walk-in vaccine clinic suspended after poor attendance
- 5 Streets of Norwich packed as lockdown rules ease
- 6 Lanes closed after lorry hits A47 central reservation
- 7 Woman found dead in country park is named
- 8 Months of resurfacing work on Norfolk's roads to start
- 9 Eight pints pulled in first three minutes as pub's 'happy hour' returns
- 10 Boss unhappy over fake worker's 'vile' comments about Prince Philip
He said the convenience and flexibility of being close to home, and cutting travel times, was a draw for busy consumers.
The holiday firm has chalked up a record breaking first quarter, posting seven of its best 10 booking days ever during the first three months of the year.
A section of the local tourism industry particularly reaping the benefits is the Broads, with firms reporting a huge surge in demand for idyllic breaks on the waterways.
Greg Munford, chief executive of Stalham-based Richardson's Boating Holidays, said: 'We have certainly seen a rise since 2009, when the staycation buzzword was created. It gave domestic holiday businesses a chance to up their game.'
While Mr Munford admitted world events had an affect, he said the trend gave holidaymakers a chance to see the offering on their doorstep.
'When the recession hit people had to take a look at their holiday choices - and I think they were pleasantly surprised,' he said. 'Sometimes it takes a big event to reconsider the options - people looked, they came and they liked it.
'Rather than being forced to stay in the UK, it opened up a new door. Then it was up to business owners to continue investing and developing and keeping people happy.'
Last month, family-run Broads holiday and day trip firm Barnes Brinkcraft said 2015 was the best year on record for boat hire - and, with bookings already up 5pc this year, 2016 looked set to top it.
Do you have a tourism story for us? Email Lauren Cope on firstname.lastname@example.org