Holidays: Over-65s ‘too scared’ to travel abroad as they buy UK holiday homes instead

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Holidays abroad have felt effectively off the cards for many Britons this year. The coronavirus pandemic saw thousands of holidays cancelled and countless international restrictions in place which have deterred even the most seasoned travellers from venturing abroad. While holidays abroad have been a “no-go” for some individuals, they have instead invested their time and money elsewhere.

Park Leisure is the UK’s leading provider of luxury holiday homes.

The company has recent reported a 47 percent year-on-year increase in holiday home sales this summer across its 11 destinations in Cornwall, Northumberland, North Wales, Yorkshire and Herefordshire.

The figures are impressive despite the pandemic causing a lot of businesses like Park Leisure to temporarily halt their operations earlier this year.

CEO of Park Leisure Richard Bates spoke exclusively to about why people are investing in holiday homes now.

“I have been involved in the industry for a long time and the fact more people are buying holiday homes in the UK is not a surprise,” he said.

He continued: “This is a segment of the tourist business that has been growing quietly for many years.

“This year in particular, I guess the prospect of travelling abroad is just too stressful for a lot of people.

“It’s difficult to keep up with quarantine restrictions. In some cases, they’re not there when you leave and there when you land.”

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Park Leisure often receives enquiries about holiday homes from individuals between 45 and 54 years old, with the average online booking age being between 35 and 44 years old.

However, Park Leisure have revealed that age can vary depending on the location of the park, with some catering more to younger families and others to older couples.

The holidaymakers on each site tend to be similar to the owners there and will have chosen the location for the same reasons as homeowners.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) released figures back in June which revealed that those 60 or older are worried about the effect of COVID-19 on their lives.

More than half of those asked said they were worried about the effect of the virus on their personal travel plans such as holidays.

Bates explained that for some demographics, the notion of travelling abroad in the current climate is just too daunting, and so instead they’re investing elsewhere.

He said: “Fundamentally, for many of us – those who are over 65 – it’s just too scary a prospect for us to entertain going abroad.

“You feel the need to invest in your family’s future holidays.

“That’s currently what I’m doing for myself. I’m currently looking at holiday homes.”

He added: “Because I recognise that it’s going to be a while before the world goes back to normal and we can start travelling again.”

Booking platform CuddlyNest revealed earlier this year that they had noticed that some demographics were not travelling as frequently due to the pandemic.

CuddlyNest Partner and COO, Ritesh Raj told that he had noticed particular demographics were not travelling abroad due to a “fear of travel”.

Raj explained that he had noticed an absence of one particular age group in bookings.

“The biggest variable right now that we have seen is the fear of travel, or what I call ‘FoT’”, he explained.

“The fear of travel is the biggest variable in deciding where to go irrespective of what country you’re from.”

He added: “A lot of people who are booking are between the age of 25 and I’d say around 38 or 40.”

He continued: “People above the age of 40, we have seen a way lesser number of people booking compared to people aged between 25 and 40.”

Raj explained that they “don’t see bookings” from people aged 60 or 70 plus.

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