Overcrowded, overpriced and overwhelmed. The UK’s Covid-19 staycation nightmare
Beaches strewn with waste, wild campers destroying fragile habitats, warnings from an increasingly overstretched Coastguard, unaffordable accommodations. What was supposed to have been a Great British summer has, for many, become a staycation nightmare.
Cut off by quarantine regulations from cheap trips to popular overseas destinations, UK vacationers were encouraged by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to enjoy their own, sometimes overlooked, holiday hotspots when Covid-19 lockdown measures eased in July.
Brits have also been permitted to venture abroad, with those traveling to countries identified on a coronavirus “safe” list exempted from quarantine on their return.
But with Spain, which usually attracts 18 million British tourists each year, hastily withdrawn from the list because of a virus resurgence and France, another popular destination, being dropped from the list this weekend, the demand for UK holidays has skyrocketed.
Research by hotel group The Cairn Collection found there was a 532% growth in searches for trips to Scotland, with searches for trips to ever popular Cornwall up 325% year-on-year.
Johnson, who himself is said to be planning a two-week stay in Scotland, has advised people to visit “peerless, wonderful, superlative places in the UK,” rather than heading abroad.
The result has been clogged roads, emergency incidents on the most popular stretches of coastline, a rise in travel scams and soaring prices for accommodation.