tv The Great British Staycation -... BBC News August 27, 2021 3:30am-4:01am BST
for our holidays this year. but are we paying more to holiday in the uk? ifelt like i could've gone abroad and got way more, and also had, like, a lot more fun. some staycationers feel they're not getting value for money. it cost £1,700. it's not cheap! no, it's not! the hospitality industry is struggling to cope with the rise in demand. in the lake district, _ we have an employment crisis. we're very understaffed. we're doing our best. the staff who are working are bearing the brunt of our frustrations. having, like, a grown man squaring up to you, with no—one there else to protect you — it's quite daunting. in a summer like no other, we ask what it's been like for britain's staycationers. when you're on holiday, you're on holiday, aren't you? you take it as it is.
so, rain or shine. # want you to knowjust if you can # where i stand # oh, no, no, no... # i've come to the lake district. with its glorious mountains and lakes, it's always one of britain's most popular tourist destinations, and this summer, it seems packed. the traffic is pretty heavy. every pub that i've seen so far has just been packed to the point of people falling out the door, and that's the same with every restaurant, as well. for some holiday—makers here, the staycation is a new experience. before covid, i think i hadn't been on holiday really in england at all. i'd always tried to jet
off to europe because it was so easy to. i booked it some months ago, and it was quite easy then, but of course, if we'd left it any later, a lot of people are booked up because they can't go abroad. the great british staycation? i mean, the weather has really helped, and it's fantastic. - we've gone on quite a few hikes. - we went up helvellyn, and that was brilliant. | but for regulars, things have felt different this year. the earliest pictures i could find were from 2014. here's me when i was 14. she laughs ellie lees has been coming here to the lake district for years, but this summer, she noticed a change. there was more noise, there was more people, a lot more, like, a lot more cars. almost as if, like, we'd brought the city with us. everyone was leaving their dog mess on the floor, you know, their disposable barbecues, their nappies. you know, and when you walked through the pavement,
no—one would move over for you. the contrast was mad compared to before covid, definitely. covid's meant a terrible 18 months for tourism, but this summer, accommodation in cumbria is 10% busier than normal, and self—catering prices are up. in windermere, they're an average of 42% higher than in 2019. i've searched for two nights around windermere, so not around the lake specifically, butjust in this area. and so, the closest stuff it's offering, there's a hotel room a couple of miles away, 316 quid a night. and some of these are going up to — i mean, there's a four—star hotel here, which is quite far out from windermere. £410 a night. it's not surprising most places here are booked up.
0ne survey found that only one in five of us plan to go abroad this summer. at heathrow airport, there was an 80% drop in passenger flights thisjuly, compared with before the pandemic. flying abroad this year comes with added costs, including pcr tests. so, how many pcr tests have you had? there's five, five of us. how much? i think about 270. so, i paid about ego—something. so, i paid £132 for myself and my daughter. holiday—makers also have to navigate the traffic light system, a guide to the testing and quarantine measures needed to travel abroad. paul charles runs a pr firm that represents holiday and travel businesses worldwide. he lobbied the government to introduce the system, but isn't impressed with how it's being run. the traffic light system
i think has failed consumers. it hasn't worked in the way it should've done. it should've been really simple, enabling consumers to know whether a country's red or whether its green. as simple as that. then you either know somewhere's out of bounds, or it isn't. do you think the uk's international travel industry has been left out in the cold? this summer is a write—off, really. it hasn't been the summer the industry dreamt of. the department for transport told panorama... with fewer people taking off abroad this year, what's it been like for staycationers? the suitcases are full, the car is full. have a look at all the stuff we've got to take. we've asked some holiday—makers to keep a video diary of their trips, and most of them had a good time. so, we have arrived at our staycation destination, - and it is beautiful. we're all set up for our
five days�* holiday. we have the best house in england! woohoo! one of our holiday—makers is nicolle joy. uk staycations! this is what you've got to look forward to. - hey, nicolle. hi. how you doing? she had herforeign holiday plans disrupted by the traffic light system earlier this year. things kept changing, didn't they? - so, like, red zones, l green zones, amber. so, the traffic light system? the traffic lights, but then, so, i didn't get to go. - so you decided, "this year, no going abroad. i'm going for a staycation." i've never, ever considered a staycation, ever. - nicolle travelled to a spa hotel in cheshire. her room cost £360 for three nights, not including breakfast or spa access. the drive up, it was so scenic.
there was a massive lake. i was like, "yay, i this is a bit of me!" and then, you know, i pulled up, saw the chandeliers, - etc, like, the decor- was really, really lovely. but after checking in, she began to discover issues with her part of the hotel, including a broken lift. so, then i had to go up these, like, i think it was like four- flights of stairs, which was... carrying your luggage? carrying my luggage, - which really irritated me. so, i was really disappointed when i first saw the room. i i was greeted by the smell. that was the first thing, because the toilet - hadn't been working. it wasjust horrible. did you complain about the room? they were to capacity in that| place, and so the only rooms that they could offer me were, like, a downgrade, _ which i think is unacceptable. it was only by, like, i the night before i left, where you could visibly see that i was really, really- upset, i was like, "i needl to speak to the manager," and kudos to them, cos they did actually give me some - money back for that. how much did you get back?
i think they refunded me, like, £100. - nicolle's hotel say they refunded a third of the bill, there was a second lift in operation, and that an alternative room with a working toilet was kept available for her. her trip cost around £500 in total, and there were some positives. when i was in the spa, i did enjoy myself. - it was beautiful, and, like i said, the girls. there were really, really lovely, and so, - that bit was good. goodbye! how do you think the value compares, in terms of staying in the uk and going abroad? it doesn't. i mean, £500 is not the most amount of money to pay - for a little holiday, it's not. but for the value for money, i felt like i could've gone - abroad and got way more, and also had, like, - a lot more fun. that's a wrap. home time. staycation over. so, is nicolle right? could she have got more for her money abroad? new analysis from consumer group which? shows just how much more expensive a week's holiday for two in britain can be,
even when you count flights. they compared prices for late august getaways this year, and found a week in brighton cost £1,131, whilst a flight to nice in france and a hotel cost £1,085. a week here in lake windermere cost £2,424, compared with just £802 for flights and accommodation for a week in lake garda, italy. so, the lake district for seven nights, in this climate, is more expensive than lake garda? not a little bit more expensive. we're not talking about £10, we're not talking about the cost of a meal out. we're talking, in the comparison we did, of hundreds and hundreds of pounds. and the reason for that, it is the general cost. so, the accommodation is higher.
when we looked at it, accommodation prices in 2019 were more expensive in the uk than they were abroad, so this isn't a pandemic problem only. pandemic has made it worse. in brighton, some staycationers are noticing the difference. some of the prices were extortionate, or the places weren't nice at all. £800 for two nights. it was probably more - than we would've liked to have paid for a two—night stay, but...we just needed - to get away! on two major booking sights, average self—catering prices have shot up this year. across the uk, they're up an average of 41% compared to august 2019. that's an extra £300 a week. sidmouth in devon saw an increase of 63%, lyme regis in dorset rose by 74%, but in sussex, brighton had a massive 89% increase. average august prices here have risen to £206 a night, from £109 two years ago. so, what's driving prices up?
i've come to meet catherine lane, who owns holiday rental properties in brighton. hey, catherine. hello, hi! it's mobeen. how you doing? she has six properties, including this one—bedroom apartment, which she rents out for between £150—300 a night. she says it's fully booked until the winter. have you put up your prices? some prices, i've put up. some prices are actually the same. for smaller properties, like this one, the price has gone up — this one about 25% — but our costs have also gone up considerably. so, for instance, now we have to have cleaning and sanitation costs, which are much higher. we have to have time for the cleaners to disinfect the place. i have spoken to people who are trying to go on holiday
at this time of year. they feel like they're being taken advantage of. i think the pricing has gone up to meet the high demand. also, a lot of the pricing, we don't have control over. if you're booking via a third—party advertising website, they're putting commissions on the actual end price. prices may be up, but are people getting value for money for their staycations? church minister alison meikle lives in grangemouth, scotland. this summer, alison and her husband hugh travelled over 400 miles to pembrokeshire for a week's holiday in a self—catered cottage. on some booking sites, self—catering prices here have risen by an average of 27% since 2019. alison found the property on the sykes cottages website. she thought it looked very clean, but the reality for alison was different. and how much money did you pay? it cost £1,700. 1,700 quid for seven nights is not cheap!
no, it's not! when you arrived at the cottage, when you opened the door, what happened? from the outside, the cottage looked lovely. we went in, it looked reasonably 0k, and then we started noticing things, foodstuffs on the light switches, coffee stains on the tables. didn't want to use the cupboards, because they were all sticky, the worktops were all sticky. and we made a cup of tea and sat down, and i looked at the windows and i thought, "no, no, no, no." couldn't say it had been cleaned in any shape or form. itjust was very disgusting. alison felt she had to take matters into her own hands to feel comfortable in the cottage. i said to my husband, "i am not cleaning everything. "i shall clean the things we're going to use." that's not a nice way to start a holiday, is it? no, it wasn't. it wasn't. but, i mean, £1,700, it's not cheap, and you expect it to be clean. if it was that filthy,
why didn't you just leave? well, we had just driven eight hours, eight and a half hours, and to go back up would've been another eight, eight and a half hours, so that was too many hours in one day. alison complained to the cottage owner and to sykes. three days into her holiday, alison says the owner offered to send a cleaner round, but alison felt it was too little, too late. after panorama contacted sykes, they confirmed they would give alison a partial refund as a goodwill gesture. they said they apologised to the meikles, but the couple decided to leave before they were able to put it right. they told us... ..that they... ..and it's...
cleanliness is always an important issue when booking a holiday. in the pandemic, many businesses are working hard to keep us safe. visitbritain is the national tourism agency, funded by the government. last year, they introduced the good to go scheme, to reassure holiday—makers that the places they visit are covid—safe and follow official cleanliness and social distancing guidelines. more than 43,000 business in the uk have obtained the good to go stamp of approval. i've come to blackpool to meet local lee kennedy. he booked his staycation this year in another seaside town, scarborough,
at the britannia grand hotel. when he booked, the britannia group's website, which advertises their 62 hotels, displayed the good to go logo. did you see that logo when you booked? i saw that online. it says that a business is good to go. yeah. that wasn't your experience, was it? no, not at all. lee booked a family room without breakfast, for him, his wife and two children. so, how much money are we talking, and for how many nights? we're talking £200, £200 for two nights. all right, so kind of decent to high expectations. i think with any uk hotel, you expect a certain level of cleanliness. i wasn't expecting the world, but i was certainly expecting to go there and have a real great family time, and for my kids to be safe, really. but the britannia grand hotel didn't seem too grand to lee and his family. it didn't live up to the good to go promise. so when we arrived in the hotel, there was marks, there was waste in the carpets,
there was bottles and glasses left all over the place, it smelt very damp. and in certain corridors, there were smells of urine. lee felt the lack of cleanliness at the grand hotel could be a covid risk. so, i've got underlying health conditions. so, i'm diabetic and i've got higher blood pressure as well, so i felt that my health was at risk and i felt i was at risk of covid. and it was something that i needed to get my family away from very quickly. and lee is not the only person to have a problem with this chain. a survey last month judged the britannia group as the lowest—rated hotel chain in the uk, with one—star for cleanliness. lee complained to the britannia grand management and received a full refund. i know you got a refund, but did that make up for the fact that you'd expected to go on holiday?
you must�*ve been left feeling pretty short—changed. absolutely. disappointment for my children, disappointment for my wife. i was disappointed as well. we asked britannia hotels for a statement. they didn't respond. in england, there are nearly 28,000 businesses with the good to go accreditation. panorama has discovered that visitbritain has carried out less than 1,000 in—person spot checks. visitengland says, "businesses who display the mark..." ..and that complaints are... it says it has already taken action against the britannia grand hotel in scarborough, after previous complaints, and was suspending the group from the scheme whilst it investigates this allegation. it's not all bad news. latest figures show uk tourism has an almost 80%
customer satisfaction rate. yeah, what can i get you? can i have a lager? yeah, pint of? but this year, it's been a challenge for businesses to keep up with the rush. back in the lake district, i'm meeting up with landlord vince gregg, who runs two pubs. even though business is now booming, like most in the hospitality industry, vince is still reeling from the cost of lockdown. i've estimated, between the two businesses, its cost us about £100,000 is what its cost us. 100 grand? £100,000. between the two bars? yes. it's quite scary, because, you know, i've got my mortgage, my pension on this, so there's a big financial cost to us. there's a lot at stake for vince, and to make the most of the renewed demand, he needs a bigger team. you know, there's been
a real staff issue in the lake district, an employment crisis. we normally run on 15 to 18 staff. we have five. you've got five in right now? we've got... my wife and myself are working flat—out, doing our normal roles in the business and also working in the bar, in order to support the bar and to support the staff. what is that staff shortage down to? 0ne, cos of brexit. and around here, we've got a lot of polish, bulgarian, lot of european workers in the lake district, and a lot of them have gone home because of the brexit. so, if those eastern european workers that used to be here have left... and they've not been filled. ..then those vacancies haven't been filled. they haven't been filled. more than 90,000 eu workers have left the uk's hospitality sector in the last year. but it's not the only challenge vince and his team face. on top of the brexit and what its cost the lake district is,
with the uncertainty of the hospitality industry, staff have left the industry. we've had staff leave to work in tesco supermarket and asda, where it's a more reliable source. they don't know whether they'll get furloughed. .. they're going backwards and forwards with the lockdown and reopening, so it's scared a lot of staff off. across the entire hospitality industry, there were 117,000 job vacancies between may and july this year. that's 27% higher than the same months in 2019. being short on staff often means customers run short on patience. becca murdoch is assistant manager at another bar in the lake district. has yourjob and how people treat you changed a lot during the pandemic? it's completely changed. it's nothing like what it was last year. so now, it's... people are queuing up for hours and they're
in a mood when they come. and then they're hungry cos they can't get any food, cos it's fully booked and we're short—staffed. becca, what kind of stuff do people say to you and how do people respond ? even the other day, this man, like, a man about 40 or something, walked in with a pint from a different pub, and i was like, "look, i'm not going to serve you. sorry. "you've walked in with a pint from a different pub. "it goes against licensing." and he's fully squared up to me, going, "what the hell are you going to do about it? "you don't know who i am." i can stick up for myself within reason, but having, like, a grown man squaring up to you, with no—one else to protect you, it's quite daunting. becca's not alone in feeling this way. in a survey this year, 61% of uk hospitality staff said they received or witnessed verbal abuse from customers. has it made you think about leaving the industry? yeah, to be honest. like, i love myjob, i love the company i work for, 99% of the guests are lovely, but...
well, 95, let's say, of the guests are lovely, but there's that 5% that ruin your day, when one person's rude to you. and although you shouldn't let that one person bring you down, it does. we're human, you know? becca works for one of the businesses run by stephen hargreaves. he has three catering businesses, including bars and restaurants, and two hotels across the lake district. you would think that people would be nicer and friendlier after everything that we've all been through. that doesn't seem to be the case. so, we're having more issues of staff being abused and being called names and being threatened than we've ever had in our industry. although stephen is benefitting from a busy summer, his business has lost about £1.2 million during the course of the pandemic. he also has around 15 vacancies to fill. are you confident that they're going to be filled within, what, the next seven days, the next month? no. the next couple of months? no idea. i think the whole industry
will have to rethink how we operate, what hours we open, what days of the week we open, the government money to support that, with potential vat reductions or rate reductions, so that businesses don't have to trade 15, 16 hours a day to pay the fixed costs. it has to be completely re—looked at. uk hospitality businesses have suffered a £100 billion drop in sales since the start of the pandemic. and though staycations may be up this summer, tourist numbers from outside britain are still massively down. chancellor rishi sunak has put in place measures to help hospitality businesses in england survive. a quarter of all furloughed staff worked in this sector, and there was last year's £850 million eat 0ut to help 0ut scheme. is that not yours?
no! you're kidding me! they laugh it's not a veg katsu curry, or a regular chicken katsu curry? no, they're not ours. business rates in england were cut entirely this spring. now they're reduced by two thirds until april next year. mr sunak has also reduced uk vat rates for eligible hospitality businesses until april. scotland, wales and northern ireland have all had their own measures to help hospitality. kate nicholls, from uk hospitality, is concerned that even those measures won't be enough to save many businesses. we have a, sort of, economic long covid for the hospitality sector. part of that is because those businesses who have managed to survive the black swan of covid have come out with really high levels of debt and they are going to have to spend the next 18 months to two years paying down that debt before they can look
confidently towards recovery and growth. those business rate bills kick in in full next march, and that's the big cliff edge, march 2022, when vat is scheduled to change, business rates are scheduled to change, and we fear that we could have a large number of business failures on the back of that. the treasury says business rates relief and the vat reduction... ..and it is right, that as demand for hospitality services increase... the hospitality sector is hoping for a brighter future, but what they can't account for is the weather. it's been mixed this year. earlyjuly saw the first ever amber extreme heat warning. but later, parts of england and scotland had double
the average rainfall. wales didn't escape the rain either, but caravaners here in prestatyn are making the best of it. i love it. doesn't bother me whatsoever. i love it when it's stormy, love it when it's good. when you're on holiday, you're on holiday, aren't you? you take it as it is. so rain or shine. it's what you make of it, isn't it? - you just get out and - about and go for a walk, hence the big coat, the brolly and the dog coats, yeah. - what more can you do? bit crap this weekend, you know, to be perfectly honest, with the weather, but i think we've been very, very lucky. we've had a good summer up to now. we've had rain in benidorm, we've had rain in the costa del sol, you know, it doesn't matter where you are, you've got to have the weather, haven't you? when you come again, fetch the sun. whether they've made it abroad, gone for a staycation,
or stayed home this year, most people i've spoken to have tried to make the best of it. this weekend is the last bank holiday of the season, and an opportunity for holiday—makers and businesses alike to finish the summer on a high. music: the sea by morcheeba # i left my soul there, # down by the sea # i lost control here # living free # i left my soul there # down by the sea # # i lost control here... hello. a lot of cloud around to start friday. there will be some sunny spells coming through and developing more widely across scotland as we go through the day. rather cool and cloudy
along the east coast. fog patches clearing in northern ireland, sunny spells to come for wales, especially in the west. bright skies for southwest of england and cumbria seeing some sunshine. perhaps developing a bit more widely through some of the eastern parts of england on through the afternoon. a close to the coast of eastern scotland, northeast england with cloud on the breeze from the sea, 15—16 degrees elsewhere around 17 to 20. a little warmer and prolonged sunny spells and clear spells with cloud of and into saturday morning, later in the night, early on saturday. the chance of finding the odd shower running on the breeze throughout southeast england more especially into kent. it is a low chance of catching a shower, most places on saturday are going to be staying dry, variable cloud and sunny spells and temperatures into the mid to high teens, but with any sunshine, into the low 20s. bye— bye.
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