Summer, country

As bank holiday weekend approaches, small accommodation and food businesses should prepare for a particularly busy period, as an increasing number of Britons are choosing to stay in the UK for their vacations.

Staycations have risen by 6% in the last twelve months, as 70% of adults in Britain are choosing to spend their holidays in the UK rather than travelling abroad, causing a boost in business for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

The accommodation and food services sector has increased by 6.4% in the first half of the year compared to the same period in 2015, according to the latest survey from Barclays Business.

Since 2012, the overall business income in the sector has increased by 30% to £50 billion, making the sector one of the strongest growing in the UK with growth 10% above the UK SME average for turnover growth.

The research by Barclays found that £22.1 billion is spent on UK staycations, around £613 per party on average. This figure has risen from £575 last year.

Men are spending over 14% more than women with £657, while those aged over 55 spend £684 on average. Londoners are splashing £701 to stay in the UK, while in Wales the figure is £526.

Adam Rowse, head of business banking at Barclays said: “Brits are opting to spend their leisure time on UK shores and in turn it is boosting the takings of business in the tourism sector. With a weaker pound, UK SMEs are also likely to see a rise in overseas holidaymakers coming to the UK”.

The South West is the most popular staycation destination with 32% of UK adults choosing to vacate to the region on holiday, as well as holding the highest share of SME turnover at 6%.

The seaside is the most popular type of staycation with 46% heading to be beside the sea, closely followed by country breaks (40%).

City breaks are chosen by 36% of those going on staycations, whereas 25% want to spend holidays staying with friends and family. 21 per cent choose to visit National Trust sites.

Reasons for choosing a UK staycation include those that like to explore their own country (38%), experiencing lots of fun things to do in the UK (34%), cutting down travel time (27%) and 22% think it’s a cheaper holiday.

A further 19% said they were remaining in the UK due to security concerns and terror attacks abroad

Mr Rowse said: “With people spending more money on their ‘Great British Getaway’, this in turn presents a huge opportunity for business owners and the tourism industry to capitalise on the rise in domestic tourism.

“There is welcome growth for UK accommodation and food sectors who have adapted around seasonal volatility and come out fighting.”

The UK tourism industry will not be booming forever though, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has warned that the boost provided by the weak pound will start to wear off in 2018.

The WTTC said it expects the industry to grow 3.6% this year following the EU referendum vote, above the global average of 3.1%.