NORTH OR SOUTH, IT’S GOING TO BE STAYCATIONS THIS YEAR

BY TIM HEDGLEY, GROUP TRAVEL EDITOR

AS the government continues to advise against non-essential travel, a new survey from Hastings Hotels reveals that 77% of people in Ireland will not take a holiday abroad this year, even if permitted to do so.

In what will likely be welcome news to the domestic tourism industry, the Hastings Hotels Staycation Survey also reveals that 94% of people across the island of Ireland will be opting to holiday in Ireland this summer.

Of the 4,557 respondents from the Republic of Ireland, 60% said they were planning a summer staycation in both the Republic and Northern Ireland, 19% said they were planning to enjoy it in Northern Ireland and 23% said they would stay down south.

44% of those surveyed from Northern Ireland will holiday both north and south with another 16% saying they will travel south to the Republic and 34% staying north.

Coastal destinations are the top attraction for 67% of staycationers, with 17% looking for city breaks and 11% indicating a preference for countryside locations.

“The figures are really welcome news from a provider point of view with so many people looking to explore Ireland this summer,” said Julie Hastings, Marketing Director of Hastings Hotels, Northern Ireland’s largest hotel groups.

When it comes to safety, 70% of respondents from the Republic of Ireland rated themselves moderately to very confident about staying in a hotel in Northern Ireland, while 74% said the same for the hotels in the Republic.

A total of 86% of people rated an accommodation provider’s Covid-19 safety policies to be either important or extremely important when deciding on where to stay with 55% saying that it was extremely important.

Just 6% of respondents who have not been to the north say that they feel that the Republic is safer in relation to Covid-19.

The Majestic Europa in Belfast

The lockdown has changed our holiday planning, with 35% of us booking holidays a few weeks in advance and 19% leaving it to the last minute and willing to book within a week of our holiday.

When asked for the top three things they were most looking forward if staying in a hotel, respondents heavily favoured food.

Evening dinner (64%), hotel breakfast (66%) and the luxury of a hotel bed (49%) got the thumbs up for the large majority.

Meanwhile, 38% said were looking forward to using the hotel pool and 37% said the spa was the most important attraction for them.
When asked who the main influencer is when it comes to decisions around holidays, women came out on top at 65%.

“During this time, Irish holidaymakers will get to enjoy great staycation experiences on their doorstep, without having to step foot in an airport, and will feel like they are away after only a short distance by car,” said Ms Hastings.

“For people who may not have considered the north for a break previously, we hope to be able to entice them with great value deals in our luxury hotels from as little as £45pps for an overnight stay. What’s more, Hastings Hotels will be participating fully in the Eat Out to Help Out scheme which will see a 50% reduction, up to £10 per head, on sit-down meals and non-alcoholic drinks from Mondays to Wednesdays in August.”

Voted Ireland’s best luxury hotel group for the past two years, The Hastings Hotels Collection has seven properties, including the five-star Culloden Estate and Spa, the world-famous Europa Hotel, the four-star Stormont Hotel and Northern Ireland’s tallest hotel, The Grand Central Hotel – all situated in Belfast.

Outside Belfast, the magnificent Slieve Donard Resort and Spa is situated adjacent to the world-famous Royal County Down Golf course in Newcastle Co Down.

The Group also owns the four-star Everglades Hotel in Derry, and the historic Ballygally Castle set on the stunning Antrim coast at the gateway to the nine Glens of Antrim, a short drive from the Giant’s Causeway and world-famous Games of Thrones Tour.

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