Long airport queues, terrorism scares and concerns over climate change are leading to increasing numbers of UK holiday makers taking cycling holidays, driving rather than flying to their holiday destination and holidaying in the UK, according to recent surveys by insurance company Zurich, market researchers Mintel and online search site, yell.com.
Yell Group’s survey found that 13 per cent more Brits had taken a camping or caravanning holiday in the UK this year than in 2006. The most popular UK destination for motorists is Devon and Cornwall, according to a research by Zurich, who also found that two fifths of Brits holidaying in UK or Europe this year intend to drive to their destination to avoid airport queues and the threat of terrorism.
Brits are also opting for healthy, eco-friendly holidays, market research company Mintel has found. Last year, UK holidaymakers took 450,000 cycling holidays, an increase of 30 per cent on 2005.
Richard Cope, Senior Travel Consultant at Mintel said:
‘Cycling has been given a new lease of life by recent environmental issues, such as sustainable transport, carbon emissions and eco travel.’
The research comes as BAA, the owners of Heathrow airport, continue to face criticism over overcrowding, and long queues at the airport, as well as pressure from environmental campaigners over the aviation industry’s rapidly growing contribution to climate change. Two senior staff left BAA last week.
Cycling campaign group Sustrans are enthusiastic about the potential for UK cycling holidays to decrease carbon emissions and regenerate deprived areas such as the northeast of England. Andy Cope, Director of Sustrans’ Research and Monitoring Unit, said:
‘By further supporting home-grown cycle tourism, a low-carbon form of tourism, the UK will not only realise economic benefits but will also have the opportunity to help minimise the effects of climate change – a healthy return on investment for both the UK economy and the planet.’
This article first appeared in the Ecologist August 2007