2012: The Year Of The ‘Staycation’?

2012 is already looking like a huge year for old Blighty but are we prepared for it? As you are probably already aware Olympic and Jubilee excitement is well and truly underway, but what does this mean for British tourism; can the tourist board’s pumping of funds into a large national campaign encourage Brits to holiday at home?

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Last month the largest ever domestic tourism campaign: ‘Holidays at Home are GREAT’ was launched .The campaign is being fronted by VisitEngland, and supported by the home nation tourist boards of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The campaign is recommending home holidays as the way to go this year. Having forked out £5m for the campaign, many seem to be adopting a highly optimistic approach towards obtaining high levels of tourist numbers during the games in particular.

2012 is undoubtedly jam -packed with major national events, and the 2012 Visit England campaign has recognised the potential to address the fun-factor in holidaying at home, during such an eventful year.

The campaign has not bowled everyone over though, in fact far from it. The Association of British Travel Agents has slammed the campaign, claiming that ‘the majority of Brits are strongly opposed to the Government spending taxpayer’s money on telling them where to go on holiday.’ Similarly, Derek Jones, Kuoni’s Managing Director, has expressed a great fury that public money is being spent on ‘persuading people not to travel abroad’. The government should not be ignorant of the fact foreign travel is a key contributor towards the British economy.

The handling of this marketing campaign does seem hugely excessive, yet if it does deliver results maybe we will be able to reap the benefits. At the end of the day, Brits with their hearts set on sun, sea and sand are probably still going to jet off.

Seemingly, the likes of Kuoni and ABTA needn’t fret just yet… An article from Travel Weekly suggests that the Olympics have had ‘little impact on holiday plans’ so far for Brits. Furthermore, research provided by Travel Supermarket implies that the ‘Games will not affect the summer holiday plans of nine out of 10 Britons’.

According to a TravelSupermarket’s survey only ‘40% of people who will be affected by the Olympics said they would remain at home to make sure they can watch the Olympics on television, with an additional 30% staying put as they have tickets to events’.

Yet ‘with extensive coverage of London and the UK on British television with both the Olympics and the Queen’s Jubilee, we could see a surge in interest in ‘staycations’ if a feel good factor kicks in’ according to an expert from Money Supermarket. However, considering the fact the Olympics is such a major occasion the percentage of people who have been influenced by the event to take a ‘staycation’ is not particularly high.

It seems that whilst the Olympics in particular have proven a crucial factor in the decision of some Brits to hold fort in theUK, many still harbour a desire to jet abroad even identifying the Olympics as the motivation for this decision. Perhaps it was somewhat irresponsible to attribute quite such a drastically large budget of taxpayers’ money into this ambitious marketing campaign. On the contrary, this year is something of a one-off and perhaps the great British public aught to embrace the festivities and make the most of what’s set to be a very exciting year forBritain. If there is a year to invest in our own offerings to tourists this is the year, so perhaps we should praise the opportunistic nature of the British travel industry. The question remaining is what will the outcome be for next year, will we inevitably experience an overwhelming sense of fatigue proceeding such an immense year, the struggle to recover may prove challenging, but for now at least we should be waving the British flag high.

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