Coronavirus: Britons turn to staycations amid fears over foreign trips during pandemic

July 28, 2020

Scarborough is busy, buoyed by a combination of traditional staycationers and those who can't, or won't, take their usual overseas holiday.

Confidence is returning to the UK holiday sector, according to a survey by Visit Britain, but slowly.

Only a quarter of adults in England were expecting to book an overnight stay in July.

Among them are Ian and Lorraine Boswell from Whitehead near Manchester, who were supposed to be in Tunisia this week with Kelly, 13, and Noah, five.

Instead they're staying in a farm cottage and spent the day in deckchairs on the beach.

"You don't have the pool and the cocktails and the guaranteed sunshine, but to be honest sometimes it can be a little too hot for the kids," said Lorraine.

"They're perfectly happy playing in the sand and going in the water so so far it's been absolutely perfect."

Two miles inland, Jonathan Bentley was pitching a brand new tent at Pinewood Park campsite.

He and his wife Nicola made the decision not to holiday abroad this year with children Meryl, four, and Winnie 18 months.

"We're not going to risk it, probably until a vaccine's come into force," he said.

The campsite's owners, Dave and Kerry Woodhead, who also own holiday cabins, said they are 90% booked up for next month.

Kerry said cleanliness is the key concern of people making enquires.

"They ask what are we doing to keep people safe," she said.

"We're taking it very, very seriously because we've got to keep our staff safe, we're a tiny team and we can't afford to take any time off," she said.

But some tourism businesses are worried about making ends meet at the end of the year, with Visit Britain predicting that spending on domestic overnight stays in England will be halved this year.

Lynn Jackson, who runs the 14-bedroom Paragon B&B above Scarborough's North Bay, says August bookings are good.

When I asked her what she fears, she said: "That winter is going to be terrible, no income coming in and you've still got bills to pay."

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But she is hopeful that the season will be extended with good weather and says some people are already booking for next year.

"I think maybe people think next year they'll have found the vaccine, they'll have sorted it out," she said.

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