Cost and climate concerns behind staycation popularity, survey finds

Holidaymakers cite concerns over soaring temperatures in mainland Europe and the carbon cost of flying.

Beachgoers at Helen’s Bay in Bangor, Northern Ireland
Beachgoers at Helen’s Bay in Bangor, Co Down. (Liam McBurney/PA)

Almost three-quarters of people are planning staycations on the island this year, a new survey shows.

Soaring summer temperatures across mainland Europe, allied with climate concerns over flying, are putting the brakes on overseas trips for some holidaymakers, according to research by Hastings Hotels.

The online survey of more than 1,700 respondents from the Republic and the north suggests that extreme heat events in European destinations have impacted the overseas holiday plans of 27%.

However, the unpredictable Irish climate is a deciding factor for six-in-10 respondents when considering vacations abroad versus breaks at home, with the remainder undeterred by the changeable weather.

The survey by the hospitality group, which owns six northern hotels including the Europa, Grand Central and The Culloden, found that 21% of respondents avoid air travel due to its environmental impact and 41% take sustainability into account when choosing accommodation.

Meanwhile, opinions on the value for money offered by Irish holidays are mixed, with half of respondents believing Ireland provides good value and almost one in four disagreeing.

Financial considerations are influencing spending patterns, with 37% of participants forced to spend more on their holidays compared to last year due to rising costs.

Around one in nine people intend to cut back on spending due to budget constraints but 18% indicated they are willing to spend more for an enhanced experience.

Convenience was cited as the main reason for opting for a staycation, followed by a desire to explore local attractions and limited travel time.

Relaxation and rejuvenation are another primary motivation, with many planning to use breaks to celebrate special occasions.

When selecting a hotel the most important amenities for respondents are spa facilities, followed closely by pools and recreational offerings and gourmet dining options.

Nearly half (48%) of those surveyed plan three or more staycations this year, averaging less than a week, and another 35% are planning two.

In terms of travel companions, the majority prefer to enjoy down time with their partners, followed by immediate family and friends.

“We are encouraged by the strong preference for staycations,” said James McGinn, managing director of Hastings Hotels.

“We are committed to sustainability with a rigorous policy in place across each of our hotels to minimise our carbon footprint, while still providing exceptional service to each guest.”

James McGinn, Managing Director of Hastings Hotels (Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye Photography)
James McGinn, managing director of Hastings Hotels. (Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye Photography)