2012 was a momentous year for the UK, with the combination of Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee, and the English capital, London, acting as host city for what many people have acknowledged were one of the best Olympic Games tournaments ever.
So when the new year dawned, it was quite clear that there could easily be a sense of 'after the Lord Mayor's show'. What the successes of 2012 did do for many people, though, was remind them just what is waiting for them to explore on their own doorsteps, without having to head abroad. And a number of evident advantages emerged, which are now being used by those responsible for marketing the UK's tourist attractions and destinations, some of which are outlined below.
1. No need to be at the whim of currency market fluctuations: In recent years, holidaymakers heading abroad have often found that the UK pound in their pocket buys them less. They have seen that holidaying abroad is no longer a 'cheap option', especially when it comes to many types of accommodation, food and drink.
2. You know the price of what you're buying: A story gained wide national press coverage at about the time this article was written, about how a family were charged the equivalent of £54 for four ice creams in a Rome cafe. It prompted the city's mayor to issue an apology, but he probably realises that it terms of public relations, it will have done immense damage. While many holidaymakers may suspect that their lack of knowledge about local customs makes them vulnerable to such rip-offs, here was proof that they actually do happen.
3. No language barrier: Being able to communicate properly would, of course, have meant the above episode never happening. On a holiday in the UK, you will find people are less likely to try to pull the wool over your eyes. You will also be sure that any requests you make of hotel staff, waiters and waitresses and anyone else who serves you will be clearly understood.
4. The UK's resorts are changing: Hundreds of millions of pounds are being spent to ensure that the experience of a British holiday matches that which can be had abroad. With many people from across Europe in particular taking advantage of their right to freedom of movement to visit the UK, they can more easily compare our own attractions with theirs. And our tourism sector is responding by emphasising what makes the places they represent great, realising that the potential rewards for getting it right are greater than ever.
5. All-weather attractions are coming to the fore: The British weather is notoriously unpredictable, but those who make their living from tourism are taking more account of this than ever. So while the rain may deter many visitors from enjoying a day out at a zoo or theme park, for example, there are still places such as museums and covered shopping complexes which can be visited to fill in time.
6. Service standards are improving: While TV programmes such as The Hotel Inspector may accentuate some of the worst examples of the ways in which customers are treated – mainly for dramatic effect – the hospitality sector is improving through becoming more internationalised, and consequently, the best service practices seen in other countries are filtering into common use in the UK.
There are other reasons why the landscape of the UK holidays market has changed, not least that people are taking more and shorter holiday breaks than ever. And when there are only a few days to spare, staying closer to home makes a great deal of sense.
You have declined cookies. This decision can be reversed.
You have allowed cookies to be placed on your computer. This decision can be reversed.