When Garri Rayner started Go Glamping in 2008, the financial crisis loomed large over the launch of his online directory for holidays in cabins, treehouses and yurts. “I was thinking ‘is this the right time to be launching this thing?’.”
However, he found that the deep downturn actually helped his cause as more Britons opted for “staycations” rather than flocking to Mediterranean beaches.
“People were staying at home and anything related to camping did well because people were looking for budget holidays,” says Rayner.
While Go Glamping’s founder thinks coronavirus will make the financial crisis look like a “cake walk”, he believes the staycation could enjoy another boost when the lockdown is relaxed.
“The sense I get, using our website as a barometer, is once there is any semblance of normality the last place people are going to want to be is home,” he says. “People will be gagging to get out and the easiest place to do that is in the UK.”
The UK’s tourism hotspots could enjoy a staycation boom in 2020 driven by homebound Britons heading for beaches in Devon and Cornwall rather than the Costa Brava.
Even if lockdowns are lifted, leisure travel abroad is likely to be severely hampered by restrictions or risk-averse holiday-goers wary of another wave of infections. The Government is said to be mulling a two-week quarantine for any passenger arriving in the UK – measures that make holidaying all but impossible.
Furthermore, the likes of holiday lets and camping sites in the Lake District and Cornwall could also benefit from Britons scaling back their holiday plans as incomes are squeezed.