|choppy times ahead...?|
There really is no place like home when it comes to holidays, that's the message from Visit England, the national tourist board.
According to Visit England's latest survey overnight stays in England during the first quarter of 2011 were up 4% on the same period last year, up 5% in Great Britain.
Bizarrely, no reasons are given for the increase, which seems a massive oversight. If the tourism industry doesn't know WHY people are preferring to stay at home to holiday how can they tap into that trend?
We can speculate of course. Higher costs of living and the devalued pound mean staying at home makes economic sense but if the staycation is to become a regular holiday booking rather than a seasonal blip then the UK's tourism industry needs more information.
Has customer service significantly improved? Has the ash cloud had an impact? Are striking airlines a deterrent? Has low cost lost its shine?
If that information is not joined up - just one all encompassing report is all that's needed - then when the economic skies clear and the pound strengthens again the worry is the momentum built up since the credit crunch in 2008 will dissipate abroad again.
Britain has some great places to holiday the challenge is to keep those resorts full when the good times return and to do that the industry needs more constructive research.