INDUSTRY COMMENT: A summary of the staycation market – the opportunity for diversification and leisure development in the countryside

By Managing Director, William FryStaycation market, leisure diversification, tourism, landowners

Post-Brexit anxiety is said to be creating a surge in UK holidays or ‘staycations’, with 2018 set to be another big year for domestic tourism. Experts say the ‘staycation’ trend is becoming a sustained feature – good news for those looking at rural diversification.

A combination of the World Cup and fantastic weather has given many people reason to stay at home and enjoy everything this country has to offer.

  • Visit Britain says that in 2017 there was another four per cent rise in holiday trips taken by Brits in England. That’s on top of an 11% increase in domestic overnight trips in the 10 years since 2006.
  • Butlins says bookings are up seven and a half per cent on this time last year. Its research has identified a post-Brexit sense of nostalgia.
  • The Caravanning and Camping Club also says that early indications for 2018 are positive with a 10% increase across its 106 campsites compared to last year.

Staycation searches and bookings for the UK have increased by almost a quarter compared to 2016, according to data analysis. This evidence shows that there is a marketplace for good quality leisure and tourism-based accommodation in the UK. At the same time, many modern farmers and landowners in Britain are finding it hard to make sensible economic returns from pure agriculture and traditional methods.

  • According to Government figures, 62% of UK farmers are having to diversify alongside running a traditional working farm.
  • More than half of England’s 57,000 farms have diversified in some form according to new figures released by Defra at the end of January 2018.
  • The Farm Business Survey 2015/16 claimed the total income from diversification activities was £580m in 2015/16.

There are regional variations in many farms’ diversification, for example, some farmers in the south-east are taking advantage of the need for office space in the region, while the south-west is more of a tourist hotspot.

The UK is made up of beautiful places steeped in history, with amazing landscapes and coastlines that, with the right expertise, can be harnessed to create a diversification project that works for you and as importantly, satisfies the local, regional and national market demand.