As the summer months approach and we begin to think about taking a holiday, we consider the benefits of staycations. From promoting more sustainable tourism practices, to supporting local economies and providing an opportunity to de-stress, staycations are becoming increasingly popular.
What Are Staycations?
The term “staycation” has become increasingly popular in recent years, especially so since the coronavirus pandemic impacted and limited where we can travel to. A staycation refers to taking a holiday at home, near your home or in your home country. It may involve travelling only a short distance from or home, or not even spending a single night away. Crucially, staycations don’t involve air travel or crossing international borders.
Staycations And Sustainable Tourism
In the last year and a half, the impact of Covid-19 has significantly impacted on our ability to travel, especially internationally. As new variants of the virus emerge, travel to foreign countries can put us at increased risk of contracting or spreading the virus. Similarly, with many countries still on the amber or red lists, as well as the requirement to undertake testing prior to departures and upon arrivals, travelling abroad can be extremely costly in the current climate.
However, even prior to Covid-19, staycations were already beginning to become more popular. As people have become more eco-conscious and awareness of the impact of foreign travel upon the planet has become more widespread, there are increasing numbers of people who are more willing to choose staycations over foreign holidays. In particular, there appears to be a generational shift, with over half of 25 - 34-year-olds in the UK planning domestic holidays over foreign travel, even prior to the pandemic. Mini-breaks are also becoming increasingly popular, as people choose to take shorter, multiple holidays throughout the year, as opposed to one longer, more expensive break in the summer months.
Staycations are also common within the slow tourism trend and as part of a wider sustainable tourism movement. In 2017, aviation alone accounted for 7% of the UK’s total greenhouse emissions. This is predicted to become the biggest source of UK emissions by 2050. Although the pandemic has significantly impacted the aviation industry and led to a decrease in emissions, this is only expected to be temporary.
Often, the most popular tourist destinations are also some of the regions most at risk of extreme weather events linked to climate change. Popular destinations, such as beaches and other coastal regions, are threatened by warming sea temperature, ocean acidity and rising sea levels. Similarly, popular winter destinations, such as the Alps and other ski resorts, are facing shrinking ski seasons and reduced snowfall. Moreover, as large numbers of tourist flock to these popular destinations, they become even more over-populated, putting additional strain on local resources and increasing pollution and waste in the regions.
Of course, for areas, trades and industries which rely upon tourism for their economic survival, lack of foreign tourism can be devastating. However, if tourism is to become sustainable, experts suggest that the focus needs to change from foreign tourism to domestic tourism, making staycations a popular alternative for many.
The Benefits of Staycations
Staycations provide a range of benefits to the environment, as well as holidaymakers. Perhaps one of the biggest benefits is that staycations help to encourage a change in behaviour and habits, which is essential if the wider issues of climate change are to be successfully tackled.
One of the biggest environmental benefits of staycations is that they lead to less pollution. In particular, staycations help to reduce carbon emissions and reduce the carbon footprint. Generally, people tend to choose alternative means of transportation during staycations, including travelling by public transport, cycling or simply walking.
Staycations also provide economic benefits. Generally, they tend to be less expensive than foreign holidays. Additionally, they also allow you to support and promote local economies instead. Staycations offer the perfect opportunity to take part in seasonal activities in your local area, buy local produce, discover independent businesses and therefore, promote your local economy.
Moreover, staycations offer the opportunity to simply slow down and enjoy the present moment. Rather than focusing on keeping busy all the time and attempting to visit multiple tourist sites, staycations and slow tourism as a movement, instead promote taking advantage of the present moment. They enable you to slow down and do activities that you may be too busy to usually find time to do, such as outdoors exercise or visiting a local museum or gallery. With staycations, there’s no need to rush. Instead, you can focus on simply exploring or doing activities you enjoy, and following your curiosity and interests and seeing where these lead you.
As you begin to form your summer plans, consider whether you could take a staycation instead. Is there a local area or a region within your country that you’ve been meaning to explore, but haven’t had the opportunity to discover yet?
A staycation can involve multiple day trips from your home, which can be a particularly good option if you have children and are looking for fun activities to do together over the summer break. Is there something nearby that you’d like to explore or visit, such as a historical site or a nature reserve?
This summer, we invite you to slow down. Choose a staycation in which you give yourself and your family the opportunity to truly de-stress, enjoy (re)discovering new places and take the time to truly be present to the moment.
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