With travel restrictions limiting holidays abroad this summer, Brits are instead expected to treat themselves with luxury staycations that could help bring a £22b boost to domestic tourism.
The report UK Staycations 2021: A Year of Opportunities, published by commercial property company Colliers, predicted that indulgences such as room upgrades, spa treatments and afternoon teas will increase as people use savings accumulated during lockdowns.
Marc Finney, head of hotels and resorts consulting at Colliers, said: "Our research shows that UK citizens spent £54.8b in 2019 on overseas leisure travel, and we estimate that if just 40% of that is instead spent in the UK this year it would represent an additional £22b for domestic tourism.
"UK hoteliers have a once in a lifetime opportunity this summer to attract people who would previously have chosen to travel abroad for holidays and weekend breaks, and if they get it right by giving guests an exceptional experience, they will benefit from future bookings and transform the domestic tourism industry instead of just experiencing a one-off bounce.
"Although the percentage of people who holiday in the UK next year is likely to be lower, there would still be significant benefits if only around 10% of those who would previously have gone abroad instead choose to holiday here, as this would add around £5.5b to the domestic tourism industry."
Before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic the UK had a high level of domestic leisure travel at 65% of all overnight spend in 2019, totalling £96.6b, which increased to 71% in 2020.
And lockdowns and restrictions last year are expected to have resulted in savings ratios in 2020 reaching 15.8% of income against a long-term average of 6.5%, creating £140b of additional savings.
Ben Godon, head of the hospitality asset management team at Colliers, said that the predictions in the report were already being borne out by the levels of increased business on the books of the luxury hotels looked after by his team.
"For the forthcoming three months there have been at least double the bookings that there were for the same time in 2019, and in some instances there have been three times the amount," he said.
"It looks like it will be a bumper summer season for some locations, which is very welcome news indeed."
The report predicted that the top UK locations for continued staycation demand in 2021 will be Bournemouth, Eastbourne, Plymouth, Brighton, Bath, Norwich, Blackpool and Southampton. These cities and towns were all popular staycation destinations in 2020 and are expected to continue to attract domestic holidaymakers this year.
While the trend last year was for coastal and country destinations, the report also suggested an increase in demand for city breaks in 2021 as a result of the reopening of cultural attractions such as theatres and museums, as well as the return of sporting events and concerts. Colliers anticipated that the main beneficiaries will be London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Bristol, Cambridge, Liverpool, York and Stratford upon Avon.