Local tourism businesses 'busier than ever' after rise in staycations

A boat on the Kennet & Avon Canal. Credit: ITV News

There has been a surge in popularity for the staycation this summer, as a new survey has revealed a third of people are expected to holiday in the UK this year.

Nearly half have abandoned the idea of travelling abroad in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic and are choosing to spend their money closer to home, according to the research by Nationwide Building Society.

Some local tourism businesses say they are now overwhelmed with bookings, after surviving several months without any guests.

Holidays on the Kennet & Avon Canal have become increasingly popular. Credit: ITV News

In Pewsey Vale, the Kennett and Avon Canal winds through the undulating countryside. The best way to explore this region is by boat. John Wyles has been renting them for years and he says he's busier than he's ever been.

"Our phones haven't rung like this ever. We've got a waiting list if anyone cancels because they're desperate to come aboard. The future looks bright," says John.

For the hospitality industry the coronavirus has been particularly difficult. But for those businesses who have been able to reopen, some are struggling with the demand.

Andy's wagon has been booked until November. Credit: ITV News

In Huntley, on the edge of the Forest of Dean, is a bed and breakfast you will not find anywhere else. Andy Ablett has converted an old fashioned wagon into a cosy bed for two, complete with a wood fire hot tub.

Andy admits the first few weeks of lockdown were difficult.

"Initially we were like okay let's rebuild and improve everything. But then you get to the stage when you've spent a fortune and you're waiting until you can start taking bookings. And that just went on and on and on. If it had lasted any longer we would have had a big problem," says Andy.

Andy rents out the wagon as well as another lodge and both are fully booked until November.

He appreciates for the first time that many people are now choosing to stay local rather than go abroad.