It has been three months that England has been in lockdown. But, now the Prime minister Boris Johnson has eased the restrictions. The hotels, holiday apartments, caravans parks, and campsites are opening in the country from 4 July.
The country has seen a surge in holiday booking after the announcement of reopening the public places.
The booking website in the UK and Europe has a collection of 700 sites. Out of which 420 are in England saw a great surge in Bookings coming in after the announcement. The bookings increased as compared to before announcement. Reports are that they are up 750% on the same time last year.
Martin Smith of Campsites.co.uk said of the announcement: “It’s fantastic news and, not surprisingly, traffic to our website spiked immediately. Campers can finally book with confidence and look forward to summer under canvas.”
However, there was a 230% increase in traffic on the site of the glamping specialists Canopy and Stars hours after Johnson’s speech. This was the best response in booking for the company in its 10-year history.
Mike Bevens, Canopy & Stars managing director, said: “We are seeing exceptionally high demand and availability is now evaporating. People need to book quickly if they want a holiday in the UK this summer.”
However, booking for hotels also spiked. The hotel which operated 300 hotels in the UK Best Westers also saw “A massive spike in website users after the announcement”. A 575% increase in bookings in 24 hours.
Head of hotels, Andrew Denton, said: “I would describe yesterday as crazy and exciting at the same time. The number of people on the site was above the same date last year when the world was open and we hadn’t heard of COVID.”
Cool Camping founder Jonathan Knight reports that along with popular destinations such as Devon, Cornwall, and the Lakes, people were also searching for less-explored rural spots like Herefordshire, Shropshire, Yorkshire, and Wiltshire. Less popular destinations are also proving to be popular at this time.
He said, “We are seeing exceptionally high demand and availability is now evaporating. People need to book quickly if they want a holiday in the UK this summer”
Log House Holidays a collection of eight Finnish-style cabins set on 53 hectares in the Cotswolds. Took two bookings while Johnson was still making his announcement.
“We’ve always ranked well on Google for secluded cabins and I’m sure people are searching on that now. It’s so safe here – the cabins are 400-500 meters apart, guests arrive by car and let themselves in; apart from a brief visit from me they don’t have to have any other interaction with people,” said owner James Edmondson.
In addition, he said that it was a relief to have had the opening date confirmed.
“Our only issue is where we have more than two families staying with each other. We need to understand the requirements for that.”
Northern Ireland will be reopening the self-catering on 26 June. Whereas, hotels will be opened by 3 July.
Wales is taking a staggered approach to reopening tourism businesses. With self-contained self-catering to be the first ones to reopen and will start accepting guests from 13 July. That means cottages and caravan parks can open but not accommodation with shared facilities such as hotels and campsites.
Concerns of the Tourism Industry
Most of the hotels, campsite owners, and self-catering businesses in England were alleviated by the government’s decision to reopen on 4 July. Though some are worried that the measures hotels will have to put in place will keep the people from staying in the hotel.
“Without the ancillary services which people expect, such as the restaurant, bar, and spa, hotels are going to struggle to attract custom once the novelty of simply getting away post-lockdown wears off,” said Jane Pendlebury, CEO of HOSPA, the Hospitality Professionals Association.
The Association of British Travel Agents was also quick to point out. That the tourism sector was by no means out of the woods.
“The measures to allow people to stay overnight in self-contained accommodation, and take domestic holidays from 4 July. It is a step in the right direction on the road to restarting travel in earnest,” said a spokesperson.
“However, the travel sector remains in a perilous state, with redundancies announced each week, and more needs to be done to help the whole sector recover. We need a more comprehensive roadmap as soon as possible that includes timeframes for relaxing international travel restrictions too, so businesses and customers can plan ahead. The process of sending people on holiday is not like turning on tap as much advance notice as possible from the government is required for travel companies to restart operations”