Brits spent record amounts on hotels in 2023 – but are UK ‘staycations’ now too expensive?

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The latest consumer spending figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveal UK households spent over £175.4bn on hotels and restaurants in 2023, as the holiday industry rebounded from Covid. The figures reveal a rise of almost 6% on 2022’s spend of £165.7bn. Brits also splashed £21.8bn on UK-based tourist activities, up from £16.7bn in 2022.

It wasn’t only hotels that benefitted from last year’s ‘staycation’ bug. Last year, we also spent £38.3bn on holiday accommodation, such as holiday lets. That was up 6.7% from 2022’s £35.9bn.

While these record figures eclipse even the peak pre-Covid year of 2019, and are encouraging results for Britain’s tourist trade, the sharp rise in spending is also causing some concern.

Lily Smith, a travel expert from the specialist accommodation finder UniversityRooms says: ‘It’s really great to see Britain’s hard-pressed hotel and tourism industries bounce back from the horrific impact of Covid. There is a danger that many of us may not be able to afford to holiday in our own country. Some Brits clearly feel overseas holidays already represent better value. We spent £77.9bn on foreign holidays last year, another new record and up significantly from £66.8bn in 2022.

‘Clearly, Brits on a budget need to think beyond traditional hotels and holiday accommodation to visit some of our most popular holiday spots. That’s why an increasing number of us are planning to stay in vacant university rooms for our next holiday. That’s a clever call, as many universities offer rooms that are great value, centrally located and are still readily available to book for the peak summer season. Best of all, you can stay in them even if you are not a student.

‘Using the innovative service UniversityRooms, visitors can choose from single, twin or double ensuite rooms, on a bed & breakfast or self-catering basis. From Edinburgh to Cornwall and Cardiff to Cambridge, a wide variety of universities have accommodation available at many times of the year, and particularly in the peak summer season. University rooms are available from as little as £50 a night.

For more information on how to enjoy a UK holiday while keeping costs down, and how to book your university stay, see: https://www.universityrooms.com/en-GB/travelinspiration/how-to-have-a-family-holiday-in-the-uk-on-a-shoestring-budget

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