Brits opt for 'staycations'

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The Independent Travel

The number of holidays taken in England by UK residents rose 14 per cent in the first six months of this year compared with the same period in 2008, VisitEngland said today.

That amounts to 2.6 million more holiday trips and more than 9.1 million extra nights holiday taken from January to June 2009 over the same period last year.

But with business travel falling, the amount spent on trips of all kinds - including visits to friends and relatives - fell 1 per cent in the first half of this year.

The "staycation" phenomenon looks likely to continue into next year, as UK self-catering operator Hoseasons reported that its advanced bookings for 2010 were already up by 61 per cent.

The figures were released today at the annual convention in Barcelona of UK travel organisation Abta.

VisitEngland chief executive James Berresford said: 'England is back in fashion as Brits are rediscovering the diversity and appeal of the English holiday. It's a trend that we've seen developing over the course of the last few years and one which we intend to nurture with the help of the tourism industry. "

He went on: "Clearly there are businesses out there still suffering, particularly those in the conference and events market so we are certainly not out of the woods."

Hoseasons chief executive Richard Carrick said: "Without doubt UK holidays have always been popular, but in the last 10 years it has been a challenge for companies to adapt to a weak euro, low-cost flights and last minute booking trends. 2009 has given us the chance to turn the tide in favour of British breaks."