John Gann sees economic trends changing the UK travel landscape for locals and tourists alike

UK Key Facts Guide

Britain - A Nation of Staycationers

As the recession continues to bite, many Brits are choosing to stay in the UK for their holiday. According to research from Visit Britain, over 40% of us are foregoing a holiday abroad.

As much as this is an exercise in counting the pennies, it is also great news for the eco travel sector as people cut down on flights abroad, bringing an added bonus for our carbon footprints. TNS travel and tourism carried out research earlier in the year which also highlighted the growing trend of Brits holidaying at home - now known as the Great British Staycation. While many UK travel companies, particularly caravaning and camping organisations, are benefiting from the rise in domestic tourism, some are taking an alternative approach. The hotel chain Jurys Inns, for example, have created a package for staycationers who don't want to forego the Mediterranean experience.

While this injection of interest is beneficial for the UK travel market, it does have implications for the European travel industry. As much as people are looking to stay in the UK for their holiday this year, there is also a trend towards those looking further afield, in a bid to escape the 'Eurozone', and the weak pound against the Euro. Egypt, Morocco and Turkey are all particularly well-poised to benefit from this surge in holidays outside of Europe.

This is not welcome news for hotels in Europe, who are clearly suffering. Demand and occupancy rates are dropping, particularly in Eastern and Southern Europe, according to research conducted by STR Global. Many consumers are also now waiting later and later to book their holiday, to make the most of last minute holiday deals.

These are interesting times for the UK and European travel markets, as we all practice a bit of belt-tightening. What is clear is that consumers still see their annual holiday as a necessity rather than a luxury.