Greener BeeGreen HolidaysThe green, green grass of home … why staycations are on the up and up

However other commentators claim there is a general trend to stick with familiar destinations including going to new places within Scotland, in response to world events from terrorist attacks to Donald Trump’s widely condemned ban preventing nationals from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen entering the US. In response, over 1.8 million have signed a petition to the UK Parliament to prevent Trump from making a state visit.

One of the companies benefiting from the fall-out is Argyll Holidays, with bookings up 40 per cent for the half-term holiday this year. So far it has seen a 30 per cent increase as a whole.

The company, which owns award-winning holiday parks, said it believed the rise was being seen across Scotland.

David Brown, marketing manager at Argyll Holidays, said: “We are seeing a definite trend towards families taking lots of mini staycations, either instead of a two-week holiday abroad or to supplement it. Guest feedback tells us that the February half-term break is always a challenge when it comes to keeping the kids entertained, so many families see the value of investing in a break away rather than having to spend too much on day trips.”

Unique Cottages, which sees over 50,000 bookings a year for their Scottish holiday cottages, has seen an upturn of almost 20 per cent in the number of guests from Scotland and the rest of the UK.

“Bookings for the month of February are already ahead of last year’s even at this early stage in the month, with the half-term week proving to be especially popular,” added Mark Breed, Unique Cottages managing director.

Last week new research by travel lobbying group FairFX revealed that holiday prices at half-term can be over nine times more expensive compared to travelling when children are in school.

They found hikes in prices across the UK, including a flight from the East Midlands to Venice which is over nine times more expensive at half-term than it was on February 4. From Edinburgh a flight to New York is 558 per cent more expensive during half-term than one week earlier, rising from £351 to £2,310.

From Glasgow a flight to Berlin is over 300 per cent cheaper a week after half-term, falling from £306 to £76 in the space of seven days.

A study by TravelSupermarket last year also found that Brexit has had an effect on costs. It claimed a 10 per cent drop in the value of the pound against the euro means that a holiday in the Eurozone would cost a family of four £245 more than it would have done if the UK had voted Remain.

According to Professor John Lennon, director of the Moffat Centre of travel and tourism at Glasgow Caledonian University, tourism in Scotland has “benefitted” from world events.

He claims the economic instability has lead to Scotland become an appealing “staycation destination” like it was around the time of the 2008 recession.

Hotel bookings were “buoyant” he said with others opting for “recession friendly” options such as Airbnb, caravan and camping holidays.

“The demand for outbound [travel] has definitely been impacted by currency movement and perceived security issues,” he added. “Destinations like France, Belgium, north Africa, Turkey have all seen the impact of concerns travellers have with security.

“Air fares remain competitive but they will rise. Price and security remain critical factors in decisions to travel – when economic future becomes uncertain, whether that’s due to Brexit or Trump, people will still holiday but close to home or at home.”

According to the Association of British Travel Agents’ (Abta) latest Holiday Habits report, domestic holiday-taking is on the rise. Almost three quarters said they took a holiday in the UK in 2016, a rise of 64 per cent from the previous year.

A spokesman for Visit Scotland said that though statistic were not yet available on the number of Scots taking holidays in the country for 2016, figures from the last four years suggested that spend on staycations was increasing.

The amount spent on overnight stays by Scots rose from £2,891million in £3,279million in 2015. A spokesman said: “With two out of five domestic overnight trips taking place between October and March, the shoulder season proves to be a popular a time of year for Scots holidaying at home.

“According to the Great Britain Tourism Survey (GBTS), the Highlands, Greater Glasgow and the Clyde Valley and Edinburgh and the Lothians are the most popular locations for a holiday at home, but it is clear that the whole country reaps the rewards of staycations.”


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