Embracing the era of the staycation as cross-border travel plummetsWith holidaymakers now worried about travelling abroad, the tourism industry should target stay-at-home vacationers in order to survive.
As holidaymakers become increasingly worried about the difficulties and dangers of international travel in the age of the coronavirus, the global tourism industry is scrambling to embrace the era of the “staycation” – the stay-at-home vacation.
Some of those who are staying in their own countries are even taking things a step further by seeking isolated destinations and stand-alone accommodation. The theory is that the more you can distance yourself from population centres, the less likely you are to be exposed to carriers of Covid-19.
Increased demand for isolated properties and off-the-grid placesHost Unusual, a UK accommodation website, reports a 45% increase in searches for isolated properties and a 38% rise in interest for off-grid locations.
“It appears that staycations are evolving, with a tendency towards more remote settings and standalone accommodation. The key words here are isolation and exclusivity, away from crowds,” Host Unusual director Alex Wilson told the Guardian newspaper.
AlsoRead‘Couch-surf’ and travel the world without leaving your homeBanish cabin fever with these ideas to keep the kids happy at homeHere’s how the coronavirus impacts on Airbnb industryCoronavirus flight cancellations: Information on refunds, changes and moreCornwall, one of England’s rural counties, thinks it could be a beneficiary of the trend, although it isn’t marketing itself as a “safer” destination at this point.
“It will be interesting to see how the British react,” said Malcom Bell of tourism body Visit Cornwall. “[They may view] coming down and walking on a Cornish beach as safer than going shopping in a town centre.”
Domestic travel enquiries in the UK rise by 40% versus 2019Overall, UK tourism businesses are seeing a rise of up to 40% in traffic to their websites – almost all of it coming from locals, the Guardian reports.
“For the period 1 January to 24 February 2020, we are, on average, 40% up on web visitors compared with the same period in the previous year,” said Steve Jarvis, owner of Independent Cottages, a business that rents out independently owned holiday homes. “Initial analysis of the most recent enquiries is that they appear to all be domestic – overseas enquiries have reduced significantly.”
In Singapore, tourism businesses are offering large discounts in an effort to attract staycationing locals and fill the void left by stay away foreign tourists. There are 50% discounts at indoor playgrounds, two-for-one entry deals at popular attractions, free admission for parents at kids’ destinations, and a water park has even reduced a $32 day pass to only $9.
People want to go on holiday, but feel the safest place is homeHotelier Middle East quotes Nick Wyatt, head of travel and tourism at analytics company GlobalData, as saying that people still want to go on holiday, but are asking themselves where it’s safe to do so.
“There is a very good chance that they might actually land on their own country as the answer to that question,” he said.
“Staycations are likely to make travellers feel more comfortable as they are familiar with the location, they can potentially avoid flying, and they know the health service and health structure, as well as other benefits of staying within your own country – such as reduced travel time and no language barrier.”
SA tourism industry must redirect its marketing to local travellersThe staycation theme ties in with the appeal by SA Tourism for the local industry to redirect its marketing efforts into attracting South African travellers.
“While a drop in international tourists and outbound travellers is a serious concern, it presents an opportunity for creating sustainable incentives to help boost the domestic market and encouraging South Africans to travel to regional tourist destinations around the country. Price-sensitive local travellers will be looking for add-on packages and exclusive experiences that will make their rands stretch further,” SA Tourism said.
“Although the impact of the virus is catastrophic, not all is lost. This presents the industry with a challenge to redirect all cancelled outbound travel to domestic travel opportunities. This is a means by which the sector can help mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus, by boosting domestic tourism.”