All five of our Regional Offices operate in regions with coastal towns that were in the past considered to be tourism hot spots. From Southend in the east, down to the tip of Cornwall, the South Coast is littered with seaside towns that were once the epicentre of the tourism industry, before the advent of affordable air travel and European holidays for the masses.
With the options for overseas holidays so limited in 2021 and so many people looking for UK-based holidays or “staycations”, many of these towns are enjoying a sudden surge in popularity, with accommodation in great demand, busy promenades and ice cream flying out the door in record volumes.
Just how busy these resorts have been of late, has borne by my own experiences in getting to our own offshore tourist destination on the beautiful Isle of Wight. We sell more property on the IoW each year than the rest of the UK’s auction houses combined, and so as a result my colleagues and I are very regular visitors to the Island and most certainly qualify as seasoned “flyers” on the Hovercraft service.
When it is wet and windy in November there can literally be a handful of paying passengers on one of the hourly crossings, yet since the start of the school holidays in late July, a fifteen-minute shuttle service has been packed to the rafters ferrying day trippers and holidaymakers over the Solent.
The very welcome spin-off is, of course, that local economies will have received a welcome boost from all the additional visitors and the money they have been spending, be it on accommodation, ice cream or the likes of Hover crossings, local busses and local authority car parks. Welcome and much needed revenue all around.
The hope must be that beyond this short-term gain, there is a longer term spin off, with people perhaps remembering or realising for the first time, that there are some wonderful holiday locations in the UK. While I am sure that most of us will in time be returning to the airport, hopefully there may be a lasting legacy for our local tourism economy with more UK-based holidays and weekend breaks in the future.