UK Staycationers Are Moving Off the Beaten Track
More people may be holidaying at home this year, but they are hunting down a holiday with a difference. Tourism is significantly up to Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty as Britons aim to get away from crowded Devon and Cornwall and get off the beaten track.
Family owned leisure company, Holgates, which has holiday parks on the North Lancashire coast has noticed not only a dramatic increase in the number of bookings but also a change in the profile of visitors coming to their parks.
Owner Michael Holgate says "we have been running holiday parks in this region for over 50 years and we have always been busy but our guests have tended to come from within an hour’s drive away, so they already knew that this part of the North Lancashire coast has something very special to offer. The increase in bookings this year though is coming from people with postcodes in London and the Home Counties. We always ask people how they find us and this group are telling us that they are staying in England for the first time. They say they don’t want to go to Devon and Cornwall or the Lake District because they think these places are too overrun and they will have to spend a long time sitting in traffic jams to get there. What they are doing is searching on the Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and luckily for us, ours is Arnside and Silverdale so it comes first in the alphabetical listing."
Holgates have several parks in this area and visitors can hire one of their luxury caravans or cottages, or take a touring caravan or tent. Their flagship has a luxurious swimming pool and leisure complex whereas others are more low key. When asked if he is making any changes to his offering to cater for the new profile of customer Michael says that these new customers are looking for something different that they can talk about when they get back home. Collaboration with local businesses has been important so that together they can showcase the best of the area. They have tied up with the village butcher, baker and greengrocer to create luxury hampers of local produce that guests can preorder. They are also forging closer links with the nearby RSPB bird reserve, which puts on events such as pond dipping and bat watching. In terms of invesment, a new website has just been launched.
As he looks out from his office window at the most incredible sunset over Morecambe Bay, Michael concludes “if it helps people to appreciate what they have on their doorstep then maybe this recession won’t have been all bad for the UK.”
Holgates is a family run company and has been operating holiday parks for 53 years. There are 6 on the North Lancashire coast as well as holiday cottages in the local villages.
For more information:
Nikki Garnett at Apparatus, tel 01524 825082,