Scottish Highlands set for billion-pound boom from staycations

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THEScottish Highlands  is set to welcome £1.135 billion worth of staycation business according to a new report.

New research reveals that millions of Brits are planning ‘staycations’ in 2021 to the UK’s tourist hot spots.

The research by Barclays has shown that the Scottish Highlands came in as the seventh most popular holiday destination.

The news comes as Barclays encourages people to get to ‘Know Your Nation’ and explore the British Isles.

As Scotland’s holiday accommodation sector prepares to reopen on 17th May, the total UK spend on domestic holidays this year is anticipated to reach £31 billion, with 23 million Brits planning at least one staycation.

Staycation - Research News Scotland
Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash. The average UK resident has visited more places abroad than domestically.

The pandemic has encouraged people to support the local economy, and half of British holidaymakers are planning trips that will allow them to explore areas in the UK with lots of small independent businesses.

Restaurants are also central to people’s holiday hopes, with access to a top dining spot considered to be ‘really important’ by over half of Brits when on holiday.

The impact of the pandemic is also shown in people’s holiday preferences.

After so much of the past year being spent in lockdown and apart from loved ones, being together is set to be a common theme of this year’s holiday season, with three in five Brits expecting a resurgence in family holidays.

And with pets considered very much a part of the family, 5.8 million dog owners and 1.4 million cat owners are planning to take their furry friends on holiday with them.

Over half of 18–34-year-olds are looking for a luxury break as an antidote to the stress of lockdown life, compared to just one-quarter of those over 55.

That said, 45% of 18–34-year-olds are looking to try sea kayaking or surfing this summer, suggesting an appetite for activities remains high after weeks and months spent indoors.

Hannah Bernard, Head of Business Banking at Barclays, said: “We’ve been supporting thousands of hospitality and tourism businesses throughout the pandemic, signposting them to grants, helping them with marketing their services even when the shutters have been down, and providing millions of pounds worth of funds through the Government lending schemes.

“We’ve seen many small businesses adapting their premises to get ready to meet the needs of holidaymakers this summer.

“The investments that they have made will hopefully be rewarded as millions of Brits support the nation’s hotels, restaurants and shops, providing local economies with a welcome boost.”

Uig Hotel and Lodge - Research News Scotland
Uig Hotel and Lodge is located on the Isle of Skye and is preparing for the surge in Scottish tourists this summer.

Owner of the Uig Hotel on the Isle of Skye, Billy Harley, said: “The challenges of the past year have been surreal, but we are now beginning to see an uptick in bookings and we cannot wait to welcome guests through the doors of the Uig Hotel in the weeks and months ahead after putting a lot of work into ensuring we are covid-secure.

“We were pleased to secure Covid funding through Barclays last year, which has provided important security to fall back on if needed.

“Given the beautiful scenery, we are not surprised at all that the Highlands and Islands has made it into the top 10 UK staycation hotspots this summer.

“Here on the Isle of Skye, we are lucky enough to have the stunning Fairy Glen just behind the hotel, and the amazing landscapes at the Quiraing and the Trotternish Ridge are not far away either.

“Now we just need to cross our fingers for a beautiful summer!”