New ‘day out’ vouchers to spend on staycations as part of recovery plan – how to get them

Simon Calder offers advice on booking staycations for 2021

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With the aim of speeding up the industry’s recovery, the UK has launched a plan to return domestic tourism to pre-pandemic levels by 2022. British holidaymakers will be encouraged to travel by train on their next staycation and will be offered vouchers for popular tourist attractions. 

Some of the initiatives included in the plan are a £10 million National Lottery Days Out scheme vouchers to support attractions and a rail pass to encourage domestic breaks. 

The voucher scheme will launch this autumn to encourage trips after the summer season. 

National Lottery players will be given the chance to redeem vouchers at attractions between September 2021 and March 2022. 

A rail pass aimed to encourage travellers to go on staycations will also launch later this year. 

The rail pass will be similar to the BritRail pass for international visitors, which offers flexible travel and discounted entry to tourist attractions.

The plan came a week after the Office of Rail and Road revealed passenger numbers on Britain’s railways have reached the lowest level in at least 150 years.

Recent data showed that only 388 million journeys were made last year.

This was only 22 percent of the total of 1.739 billion during the previous year and the lowest annual figure dating back to 1872.

The National Lottery will launch the £10 million voucher scheme to use at tourist attractions across the UK.

The initiative also promised a Sustainable Tourism Plan later this year to look at measures to reduce tourism’s impact on the environment. 

The plan will build on investments already underway such as the England Coast Path. 

The recovery plan showed that before the pandemic, England was on course to hit 100 million domestic trips in 2020. 

In 2019, 41 million international visitors came to the UK, spending more than £28 billion. 

Tourism minister, Nigel Huddleston, described the sector as “one of our country’s greatest assets”. 

“The Tourism Recovery Plan is our blueprint for how the sector can build back better from the pandemic, faster than forecasts predict,” he said. 

“It’s been a challenging year for the tourism sector, especially for our cities, but they stand ready to welcome visitors and I encourage everyone to rediscover the UK’s fantastic tourism offer.” 

Chairman of VisitBritain and VisitEngland, Lord Patrick McLoughlin, described the plan as “an important step on the road to recovery, recognising the economic potential of the sector and setting a clear policy direction”.

“Our spending review bid this year will seek to support the plan’s ambitions,” he said. 

Airbnb general manager for Northern Europe Amanda Cupples added: “Airbnb is preparing for the travel rebound of the century. We want to work with the government to help everyone benefit. 

“We’ve worked with communities across the UK on proposals for a tourism accommodation register and are delighted to see the government take this forward.” 

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