Can I book a 2020 summer holiday in Britain?

Most British holidaymakers are resigned to the fact that they won't be able to head abroad this summer due to the coronavirus pandemic causing travel havoc. 

However, if lockdown restrictions are lifted in the coming weeks, swathes of Britons will be placing a trip somewhere in the UK firmly on the agenda. 

A rise in staycations would give the economy a much needed boost and could encourage UK tourists to explore parts of the country they haven't seen before. 

A number of UK holiday firms said they have seen a rise in bookings for later this year (pictured: Torquay)

This will be much needed as VisitBritain's latest tourism impact forecasts for 2020 show that inbound tourism spending is forecast to drop 54 per cent this year.

This equates to a GBP15.1billion loss to the economy - while domestic tourism in Britain is forecast to lose GBP22billion in spending across holidays and day visits alone. 

This is Money spoke to holiday firms to see if they had seen an increase in bookings for staycations in recent weeks and takes a look at whether a UK getaway this summer is likely - it appears the first week of July is the target for many.

Are July trips feasible?  

Under current rules, it is not possible to take an overnight trip somewhere else in the UK. 

However, it is hoped that this can resume from the beginning of July, according to the Government's roadmap to get the country out of lockdown. 

It said that, should the five tests that show the spread of coronavirus is slowing be met, hospitality such as food service providers, pubs and accommodation can be reopened from July 4.  

However, it did say some venues which are, by design, crowded and where it may prove difficult to enact distancing may still not be able to re-open safely at this point, or may be able to open safely only in part. 

Can I book a 2020 summer holiday in Britain?

More customers will be looking to take a staycation in the UK as they can no longer go abroad

What are UK holidays firms saying?

Haven, which specialises in caravan and camping trips, said it has seen an increase in both holiday online searches and bookings.

The week commencing May 11 saw an increase of over 40 per cent in new bookings for the remainder of the 2020 season - it is taking bookings from 2 July onwards. 

It has a 'book with confidence' guarantee on its website - if a trip can't be taken because of coronavirus, it will allow holidays to be moved to an alternative date, or cancelled with a no-quibble refund. 

It also reported an increase of over 50 per cent in new bookings for 2021 compared to week commencing 20 April.

The number of guests re-booking holidays they have had to cancel due to the virus has remained consistent over the last four weeks. 

Forest Holidays, which offers short breaks and log cabin holidays in in 11 UK forest locations, added that it has seen a fairly significant increase in bookings in the past week - up 138 per cent in actual bookings compared to the previous week. 

It added that there are no locations which have seen a standout increase in bookings. 

Over the last couple of weeks, website Holiday Cottages has also seen an increase in bookings from clients for the latter part of the summer and later this year.

The site offers cottage holidays in popular locations across the UK but is not accepting any bookings for before July 4, in line with government guidelines.  

Can I book a 2020 summer holiday in Britain?

Haven, which specialises in caravan trips,has seen an increase in holiday online bookings

However, Skyscanner said it hadn't yet seen a marked rise in staycation searches or booking in the last few weeks for the UK but it did say that data for other locations whose recovery is ahead of the UK would suggest that this may change.

While Skyscanner search and redirect volumes are lower than usual, it is still seeing some recovery and intent to travel in the future.

For example, over the last two weeks it has seen a 49 per cent rise in domestic hotel bookings in South Korea and a 35 per cent rise in domestic hotel bookings in Spain.

A survey conducted by the booking site also revealed that 23 per cent of UK travellers would travel more in the country they live in after the coronavirus pandemic.

This might show people have been put off by the chaos and may think simply travelling at home may be easier in the near future.  

Meanwhile, Center Parcs, said it also hasn't seen a significant increase in bookings in recent weeks and it is not seeing much in the way of volumes for the summer, reflecting people's cautiousness about the easing of lockdown.

However, bookings for later in the year remain steady.

A spokesperson for Center Parcs said: 'We are looking forward to and planning for a time when we are again able to welcome guests back to Center Parcs and we are reviewing the whole Center Parcs experience to ensure that we can open with appropriate social distancing in place as well as any other measures required in order to keep our staff and guests safe.

'We know that we can adapt and provide reassurance to guests and staff and that we will only re-open when the time is right and when we do, we are confident that we will provide a great guest experience for families.'

All of Center Parcs' UK villages are closed until July 5 whilst Longford Forest is closed until July 19. 

It added that these dates may change in accordance with government guidelines.  

However, VisitBritain believes many will be cautious.

A spokesperson said: 'Our latest domestic tourism research, which looked at travel intentions this year, shows that the majority of people surveyed who had planned a domestic holiday in Britain from July to September believe it is unlikely to go ahead.

'Those domestic summer holidays lost are not likely to be replaced with only a minority who have cancelled holidays looking to replace them, and these were most likely to be from October onwards and to rural and coastal destinations as well as country parks and other outdoor attractions.

'We are working across the industry and with the Government to ensure that tourism is able to recover as quickly as possible once restrictions are lifted.' 

TravelSupermarket said that searches for long haul destinations are currently up at the moment with the Maldives proving to be the most popular package holiday search. 

Las Vegas and Orlando in the United States, as well as Tenerife, were also popular searches for later in the year. 

This is likely due to the fact that these areas are where the sun can be chased in the last few months of the year when holidays abroad are more likely to go ahead. 

Tempted to book? Consider these five steps

If you are tempted to book a UK getaway this summer, there are some key steps to consider.

1. Does it come with a 'guarantee' that if a holiday cannot be taken because of coronavirus, you can change your trip to a later date or easily obtain a cash refund?

2.

Read the terms and conditions carefully. It is common for consumers to skip over the T&Cs, but in terms of holiday bookings like this, it will pay to go through exclusions with a toothcomb.

3. Consider booking with a credit card for Section 75 protection.

4.

Check your insurance policy. It has become difficult to find travel cover because of Covid-19, but it still possible. Meanwhile, some have annual policies or insurance with their bank account - check what it covers before booking. 

 5.

Does your accommodation have free cancellation?

Many of the major booking websites allow you to cancel up to a certain date - check this is in place before booking, so you can cancel, without penalty, if it looks unlikely you can go. 

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