Brits taking to 'staycations' to save money

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London, July 12 : 'Staycations', a term that signifies cancelling or cutting back on holiday plans to stay at home, may soon become a mantra for people wanting to save money during their vacations.

The term coined by Americans, after being hit by rising fuel prices, seems to be gradually taking the shape of a trend among the British.

And now, it is believed that day trips or short breaks may soon replace the traditional week or fortnight away because many parents think that even a full holiday in Britain is a luxury they cannot afford.

A recent Times survey revealed that one-third of the public were switching their plans from a holiday abroad to a holiday in Britain.

Guest-house owners, hoteliers, and restaurateurs in resorts from Scarborough to the Scilly Isles were found to be hoping that a perfect storm of the high euro, record oil prices and uncertain job prospects could compel people to play safe, and holiday at home this year.

According to reports, anecdotal evidence suggests that many people are waiting until the last minute to decide how to spend their vacations.

"We have not been helped by the weather. There are no great screams coming out from the South West yet, but the next few weeks will be crucial," Times Online quoted Malcolm Bell, chief executive of South West Tourism, which covers Britain's busiest holiday region, as saying.

"Many people believe that they are entitled to a holiday. It's not a luxury, so it is probably one of the last things to be cut back. You can live without a new car or a more modern fridge. But the real issue is we need the weather to lift a bit. If it comes good, I think it will be busy.

"A lot of people have booked leave, but are leaving it till later to decide what to do with it - whether to go away or just stay at home and take day trips instead," he added.

David Weston, a spokesman for the Bed and Breakfast Association, said: "There are members who are getting nervous as it's already July and some people are not yet fully booked for August."

People who earn most part of their earnings from tourism are worried about the impact the gloomy economic climate may have next year.

Britons generally book their holidays in January, and many people had committed themselves for this summer before the credit crunch really began to bite.

Even privileged locations like the Scilly Isles, 22 miles off Land's End, which are booked to capacity every summer, have not been able to avoid the impact of the current economic condition.

Sophie Hughes, of the isles' tourist office, said: "Because of the limited amount of accommodation in the islands, people tend to book a year in advance. We have four campsites in the islands and they are fully booked for the school holidays."

She added: "But I also work in a restaurant and I notice that people are cutting back on peripheral spending. It costs a lot to get to the islands and they are trying to save elsewhere."

ANI

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