By Daniel Hunter

A thriving staycation economy is boosting small businesses around the country, according to a new survey from Barclays Business, with more than three quarters of UK adults (77%) that have been on, or are planning a UK staycation.

Barclays business data reveals turnover for SMEs in the accommodation and food services sector is up 17% since 2009, the highest since its peak in 2006. Furthermore, the sector is the most volatile to seasonality, experiencing the highest turnover growth of any other sector during the months of July to September, 7.3% above its annual average.

New Barclays research reveals £22.5billion is spent on UK staycations every year, with Brits spending £575 per party on average. Men spend over 5% more than women, while those over 55+ budget £619 on average and are most likely to go away in September than any other month. In the last five years the overall number of businesses in accommodation and food services in the UK has risen by 17%4.

The seaside is the most popular type of staycation with 20 million5 or 52% heading to be beside the sea, followed by country breaks (45%). A city break is chosen by one in three (37%) while 27% want to spend holidays staying with friends and family. Caravanning is a popular UK holiday activity for one in five staycationers (17%) and is most popular with 18-34 year olds (20%) compared to 13% aged 55 and over. Furthermore, 13% of Brits have a penchant to be pampered on a UK spa break — including one in twelve men (8%).

When choosing where to go, famous landmarks and attractions (41%) are the main draw for domestic tourists, followed by finding the best deal (39%) — despite having a bigger budget, men are more likely to hunt for a bargain than women. Other key factors when selecting UK holiday accommodation are recommendation from friends or family (38%), online reviews (36%) and transport links (33%).

Adam Rowse, head of business banking at Barclays said: “With this weekend the last bank holiday getaway of the year it’s great to see a boom in UK staycationers. The staycation economy is a huge driver for businesses across the UK and with £22.5billion spent on average every year, this presents business owners and the tourism industry with an opportunity to plan ahead to make the most of the rise in domestic tourism. We have seen a number of businesses adapt and diversify to make the most of seasonal tourism particularly during summer months. Great British landmarks hold pride of place in the nation’s heart as drivers of regional tourism, while many accommodation businesses are catering for the nation’s appetite for more unusual places to rest their head, such as a yurt or camper van.”

The South West is the nation’s favourite staycation spot, with a third (31%) of holidaymakers heading to the region for their breaks1. It is also the region with the highest turnover growth according to Barclays Business data. What’s more, over half (55%) of those living in the South West stay in the region for their holiday, rather than travelling further afield. The next most popular regions people visit are Scotland (21%), and Wales (16%).

With alternative accommodation on the rise, the findings also reveal three in five (64%) enjoy staying somewhere a bit more unusual than a traditional bed & breakfast or hotel. The most popular is a caravan or a tent, followed by a cabin and a canal boat; while a camper van also appeared in the top five. More quirky stays include a floating hotel or tree house.