The Great British staycation

23 May 2019

Two years after Barclays’ Destination UK report identified a surge in domestic tourism, our new findings reveal continuing growth on an undiminished scale.

Three in 10 domestic holidaymakers (31%) plan to spend more holiday time in the UK in 2019 than they did in previous years. Millennials (aged 25-34) are driving this demand, and are the most likely demographic to choose a staycation as their main holiday. Overall, holidaymakers now rate UK and overseas leisure experiences equally in terms of recent improvements, and most say customer service is similar at home and abroad. The cumulative effect of this burgeoning UK holiday habit is feeding through to success for hospitality and leisure providers, and translating into significant rises in revenue.

Appealing to the evolving wants and needs of specific demographics unlocks further opportunities to attract customers. By gaining a deeper understanding of customers’ motivations and trends, businesses can shape even more compelling holiday experiences for the home market.

Read the full report for our key tips on how businesses can adapt to these trends and embed lifetime loyalty among their customers.

Read the full report The Great British staycation PDF† 

  • Key takeaways

    Younger travellers lead a domestic tourism surge

    This year will see the UK domestic tourism boom continue, new research by Barclays reveals. Hospitality and leisure businesses are evolving fast to cater for rising expectations and the needs of different holiday groups.

    • Three in 10 domestic holidaymakers (31%) plan to spend more holiday time in this country in 2019 than they did in previous years
    • More than half of 25-to-34-year-olds surveyed (52%) plan to increase their UK-based holiday time 
    • After convenience, the main reason is positive recent experiences of domestic holidays that people want to repeat. The latter is cited by 21% of those planning extra UK holiday time – suggesting the habit of domestic breaks is being positively reinforced 
    • Most hospitality and leisure businesses in every region of the UK have seen rising demand from domestic tourists, with many reporting increased revenue as a result. One in three (31%) has seen revenue rise by over 20% since 2017, whether through higher visitor numbers, providing more services to encourage greater spend, or a mixture of the two 
    • Perennial favourites such as the Lake District, Scotland and Cornwall remain most popular, but operators in the North East and the Midlands are seeing the biggest rise in demand 
    • Holidaymakers are booking their breaks earlier, a trend noted by 39% of businesses – meaning providers may need to upgrade booking systems to capitalise on this shift 
    • Services need to be stepped up to keep pace with rising expectations in some areas, such as the ability to select a room in advance (desirable for 68% of respondents) and to be able to take advantage of local offers (attractive to 44%).
  • VisitBritain/VisitEngland insight

    Positive news at a Pivotal Moment

    As UK tourism businesses await a game-changing government deal, Sally Balcombe, Chief Executive of VisitBritain/VisitEngland, reflects on the current state of the sector 

    Read the VisitBritain/VisitEngland insight PDF

  • Regional Insights
    A map showing the UK holiday regions that holidaymakers plan to visit. The highest being the South West with 31%

    More than half of consumers surveyed (52%) will take most or all of this year’s holidays in the UK. A fifth (21%) will holiday mostly overseas, while 28% will split their breaks fairly evenly between the UK and abroad.

    The South West retains the crown as the most popular region, with over-65s most likely to holiday there. Scotland comes second overall, followed by Yorkshire and the Humber, Wales and the North West. Among 18-to-24-year-olds, breaks in London, Wales and the North West are most favoured.

    North East and Midlands extend their pull

    Perennial favourites such as the Lake District, Cornwall and Devon retain their popularity. However, the biggest increases in domestic tourism demand are outside the most obvious destinations.

    More than two-thirds (67%) of hospitality and leisure businesses in the North East, for example, report rising visitor numbers. These operators are well placed to benefit from the spotlight shone on the region by last year’s Great Exhibition of the North. Big events this year, including the World Transplant Games in Newcastle/Gateshead and the 10th anniversary of Lumière Durham, will keep the crowds coming.

    Meanwhile, 63% of Midlands businesses report a rise in demand since 2017, which over half of them (54%) describe as significant. Visitor numbers are being fuelled by traditional family-friendly favourites such as Alton Towers, as well as newcomers like the recently opened Legoland Discovery Centre.

  • Case Study: Langdale Hotel

    Truly all-inclusive holidays

    By embracing accessibility, a Lake District business found itself winning new customers well beyond its obvious demographic.

  • Case Study: National Trust

    National treasure

    The National Trust provides access to some of the most beautiful and breath-taking places in the world. But despite record membership levels, the conservation charity knows it cannot afford to rest on its laurels.

    National Trust campsite at Wasdale Head, Cumbria ©National Trust Images/Joe Cornish


Destination UK

The UK remains an attractive tourist destination for both domestic holidaymakers and international visitors.

Industry expertise

Hospitality and Leisure

In a highly competitive sector, Barclays' hospitality and leisure specialists provide proactive strategic, banking and financing support.


Unlock the Purple Pound

At Barclays, we seek new and innovative ways to help businesses remove barriers to ensure an inclusive customer experience.