Staycations surge as overseas travel declines

Twenty-seven percent of respondents are more reluctant to travel to hotter destinations

Pictured: James McGinn of Hastings Hotels who conducted the survey exploring current holiday trends and preferences among Irish holidaymakers (Photo: Kelvin Boyes/ Press Eye Photography)

Almost three-quarters of people in Ireland (74%) plan to holiday on the island this year, a new survey shows.

Soaring summer temperatures across mainland Europe, allied to climate concerns, are putting the brakes on overseas trips for some holidaymakers, the Hastings Hotels research shows.

The survey of 1,731 respondents from the Republic and Northern Ireland reveals that regular, 40C+ temperatures across many parts of Europe have impacted overseas holiday plans, making 27% more reluctant to travel to hotter destinations. 

However, the unpredictable Irish climate is a deciding factor for six in 10 respondents when considering vacations abroad versus breaks at home, while the remainder are undeterred by Ireland’s changeable weather.

Environmental considerations are increasingly shaping holiday decisions, reflecting a growing awareness and concern for climate change among holidaymakers. The survey from the hotel group, who also co-owns the Merrion Hotel in Dublin, found that 21% of respondents avoid air travel due to its environmental impact and 41% take a provider’s sustainability policy into account when choosing accommodation. 

Meanwhile, opinions on the value for money offered by Irish holidays are mixed, with half of respondents believing Ireland provides good value and almost one in four disagreeing.

Not surprisingly, financial considerations influence spending patterns, with 37% of participants forced to spend more on their holidays compared to last year, due to rising costs. 

A total of 11% intend to cut back on spending due to budget constraints and an additional 18% are willing to spend more out of choice, happy to splurge for a more enhanced experience.

Convenience is the main reason for opting for a staycation followed by a desire to explore local attractions and limited travel time. 

Relaxation and rejuvenation are a primary motivation, with many also using these breaks to celebrate special occasions.

When selecting a hotel the most important amenities for respondents are spa facilities, followed closely by pools and recreational offerings and gourmet dining options.

Regular short trips are favoured, with 48% of those surveyed planning three or more staycations this year, averaging less than a week, and another 35% planning two. 

In terms of travel companions, the majority prefer to staycation with their partners, followed by immediate family, and then friends.

James McGinn, managing director, Hastings Hotels, said: “With a portfolio of six hotels the great thing is that our hotels are easily accessible and involve no air travel. With Belfast’s new Grand Central Station, guests can take the train and be within a five-minute walk from two of our city centre hotels.

“For those who prefer to drive, four of our hotels are only 1.5 hours from Dublin, and these are located beside some of Northern Ireland’s biggest and most popular attractions and landmarks, allowing guests to explore Belfast and its surrounding areas.”

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