Page last updated at 12:06 GMT, Thursday, 19 March 2009

Rallying call for UK 'staycation'

Wast Water in the Lake District
VisitBritain said attractions like the Lake District were world class

Britons should abandon foreign climes and spend their summer holiday in the UK if they want to save money.

That is the call from council leaders who say as many as five million people who went abroad in 2008 are considering a so-called "staycation" this year.

The Local Government Association said holidaying in Britain was good value and would help local businesses.

But a travelsupermarket.com spokesman said higher demand in the UK could make going abroad the cheaper option.

The Camping and Caravanning Club said advanced bookings on its 109 UK sites were currently 25% higher than at this time last year.

No passport

The LGA said councils across Britain, including seaside resorts like Eastbourne and Worthing, were trying to attract holidaymakers by offering specials deals and savings.

The Isle of Wight is also running a national advertising campaign reminding holidaymakers they can enjoy an island getaway without a passport or a plane.

Chris White, chairman of the LGA's culture, tourism and sport board, said: "Lots of families have to be careful with their finances at the moment, but that shouldn't mean that they have to miss out on a trip away this summer.

Perhaps we've forgotten just what we've got here on our own doorstep
VisitBritain

"Britain has a massive range of holiday locations, all reachable without a passport or hours of waiting at an airport terminal, and everyone should be able to find something to suit them."

A spokeswoman for VisitBritain said there was a perception that Britain was an expensive place to holiday, but actually it could be excellent value for money.

"If you think about accommodation there are options for every pocket and the quality is definitely improving too," she said.

"There are so many great things to see and do here and some truly spectacular countryside in places like the Lake District.

"People come from all over the world to visit Britain - perhaps we've forgotten just what we've got here on our own doorstep."

'Intangible things'

But Bob Atkinson, travel expert at travelsupermarket.com, said there was a "psychological difference" between going on a foreign holiday and staying at home.

"It's brilliant that our tourism industry will get a boost, but you should think carefully about the overall experience you as an individual want to get from your holiday," he said.

"If you're looking for a complete rest - the kind that comes from a complete change of scenery, great weather, different food and so on - staying here may not do that.

Foreign operators are starting to drop their prices because they need fill seats."
Bob Atkinson, travelsupermarket.com

"You may end up spending money on a holiday, but not getting the full benefit from it because you haven't got those intangible things you get from getting on a plane and going abroad."

Mr Atkinson also pointed out that a trip overseas could still be excellent value for money, especially to destinations outside the Euro-zone like Turkey.

"Because more people are choosing to stay at home, prices here in the UK are actually holding up," he said.

"At the same time, foreign operators are starting to drop their prices because they need fill seats."

British Tourism Week is being held from 23 to 29 March.

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