Staycation boom to boost Plymouth, while Oxford suffers

Colliers International has carried out new research on the recovery of the hotel sector.

Plymouth and the Isle of Wight are set to be two of the UK's big winners from the boom in staycations amid the coronavirus pandemic, while visits from foreign travellers continue to dry up.

Colliers International has revealed that the hotel sector in Plymouth is expected to recover at a faster rate than any other in the UK.

However, it said that some traditional tourist hotspots, such as Oxford, will be hard hit by the dearth of visitors from abroad due to travel restrictions.

Oxford came 2nd from bottom, partly due to the uncertainty of University students returning in 2020, and the significant reduction in visits from friends and relatives as a consequence. 

London and Cambridge take the other bottom spots in the ranking of 35 destinations, as they look set to miss out on their normal level of foreign tourists.

Colliers' inaugural Covid-19 Recovery Hotels Index also said that a strong rebound in domestic tourism was particularly likely to help the economy of the Isle of Wight.

Exeter, Norwich, Blackpool and Cornwall are also expected to recover more quickly, according to experts at the commercial real estate specialists.

Marc Finney, head of hotels and resort consulting at Colliers, said he believes that UK leisure destinations are less likely to feel large impact from dwindling overseas visitors and large events.

"So good news in the short-term for traditional British seaside resorts such as Blackpool and Bournemouth, national park locations and Devon and Cornwall," he said.

"This said, some of these markets within the top 10 have traditionally been very small - so even though they appear top of the list, the uptick will be small in absolute terms."

The research said that Plymouth topped the index as 86% of its visitors are domestic tourists, while it also believes its large proportion of budget hotels will make it more resilient to the financial impact of the current crisis.

Meanwhile, the Isle of Wight is also expected to benefit from a significant number of UK tourists, with domestic tourists visiting the area for leisure typically representing around 90% of visits.

Mr Finney also said that hotels which focus on their rooms could outperform sites which typically secure more revenue through other services, such as gyms and spas.

He added: "This is due to social distancing protocols which will inevitably limit the use of public areas and ancillary facilities in the short-term, including restaurants, bars, meetings spaces and spa amenities."

Colliers also stressed that the cancellation of major events, such as Wimbledon, as well as vast numbers of conferences and exhibitions, would particularly impact the capital's hotel sector.

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