LYME Regis has been listed as the UK’s top trending travel destination, as holidaymakers make plans for their summer breaks.
HomeToGo, the marketplace with the world’s largest selection of holiday rentals, has released its 2022 summer travel forecast for the UK, using new insight to reveal how British holidaymakers plan to travel in the upcoming high season.
In 2022 so far, and on a global scale, HomeToGo has recorded an overall 60% uplift in searches for summer holiday accommodation, and a 9% observed increase in the average length of stay.
It places Lyme Regis as the top trending domestic travel destination, with a 321% year-on-year search increase.
In addition, more than half (52%) of all searches for summer holiday rentals this year so far via hometogo.co.uk have been for stays in international destinations, up from 26% in 2021, with the top trending international destination being Porto, in Portugal.
Dr Patrick Andrae, co-founder and CEO at HomeToGo, commented: “Over the past two years while restrictions due to COVID-19 have been in place, we’ve seen the demand for travel during the high seasons manifest as surges in domestic tourism, with holidaymakers seeking out rentals in rural destinations for summer stays.
“Now, as international trips and city breaks regain momentum, holiday rentals remain a top choice of accommodation for many travellers, seamlessly suited to ‘workations’ and getaways with friends and family – two types of trips we expect to see define the 2022 peak season.”
But domestic travel remains strong, with 50% of British participants in HomeToGo’s consumer survey saying that they planned to visit UK destinations for trips in 2022, with another 12% choosing to stay hyperlocal and holiday within their region of residence.
In line with the survey finding that 62% of British travellers plan to visit beaches in the coming months, search insight shows that staycationers will be heading to seaside spots for holidays in 2022.
Coastal locations such as Lyme Regis, Hunstanton in Norfolk, and Bamburgh in Northumberland, account for eight of the UK’s top 10 trending domestic locations for the high season, with Cornwall, Devon and Norfolk keeping their positions as the most-searched counties for summer.
Boom or bust for Dorset this summer?
The survey results were unveiled as Dorset Council questioned whether it would be ‘boom or bust’ for the county this summer.
While early bookings for many holiday businesses have been healthy, there are concerns that the rising costs of living may force many to not take a holiday at all.
Dorset councillors were told that the crisis could work either way for the county – either with an increase in visitors, or less than in a ‘normal’ year and at this stage was difficult to predict.
The council’s officer overseeing preparations for the summer, Graham Duggan, said work has already started in preparing for the months ahead, whatever it brings, although the operation and finance for dealing with visitors had been scaled back because it was initially believed that visitor numbers would be less than in 2020-21, with the virtual disappearance of COVID restrictions once again making foreign travel easier.
He told the council’s Place Resources Scrutiny Committee that weekly meetings between councils, tourism staff, highways and the police as well as other partners, were already monitoring visitor numbers and were prepared for almost every eventuality.
Sherborne councillor Jon Andrews said he feared that scaling back the operation might be a mistake with the squeeze on incomes possibly resulting in more day trippers, rather than those staying for longer.
“With the financial crisis many people won’t be able to afford to go abroad, or to holiday in this country, but I believe there could be more day-trippers so I don’t think it’s wise to scale back on our summer 2022 operation, because we may need it,” he said.
“If we only have a limited budget, what are we going to do? Stop the service?”
Mr Duggan told him that, although the budget was smaller, the experience from two years of partnership working to deal with increased visitor numbers meant that there was now a better ability to foresee problems and react to it with various organisations working together.
Chesil Bank councillor Mark Roberts said he hoped that more would be done this year to stop “wild camping” which, at one point, had resulted in about 100 families camping illegally on the Chesil Beach.
He said the situation could be helped by making it easier for local farmers to, temporarily, use some of their land to set up camp sites, but many of the regulations worked against them and made it difficult to achieve.
He was told that the new public protection orders did have a provision for dealing with camping on some beaches with the ability to issue fixed penalty notices if people were causing a nuisance.
With additional reporting by Local Democracy Reporter Trevor Bevins