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Demand for UK holidays ‘ten times higher than 2019’ and prices up by as much as 50%

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Fears that travelling abroad will be impossible this summer have sparked a scramble for holiday cottages and campsites, with popular British destinations already full for August.

Increased demand has sent prices soaring by as much as 50 per cent, with some desperate holidaymakers resorting to outbidding or ‘gazumping’ each other for the remaining accommodation – even for a few nights’ stay in a treehouse.

Simply Sea Views, an agency with more than 8,000 cottages on its books, told The Mail on Sunday that Padstow in Cornwall is already 99 per cent booked for high season.

Fears that travelling abroad will be impossible this summer have sparked a scramble for holiday cottages and campsites. Pictured: Bournemouth beach in June last year

Fears that travelling abroad will be impossible this summer have sparked a scramble for holiday cottages and campsites. Pictured: Bournemouth beach in June last year

‘Only one property remains for the whole of July and August,’ a spokesman said.

‘Lyme Regis in Dorset is 86 per cent full for the whole of July and August. There is little left for the main summer holidays. 

‘Holidaymakers can forget Southwold in Suffolk, too – it is 100 per cent booked. There’s a similar picture in Tenby, Wales, which has only very slim pickings.’

Sykes, which manages 18,000 properties across the UK, is reporting that ‘super honeypot locations’ are already 70 per cent booked for August.

‘Occupancy levels last year hit a record 95 per cent and I think this year will be better,’ said chief executive Graham Donoghue.

‘If we get clarity from the Government tomorrow, demand will go through the roof.’

Increased demand has sent prices soaring by as much as 50 per cent, with some desperate holidaymakers resorting to outbidding or ‘gazumping’ each other. Pictured: Brighton beach in July last year

Increased demand has sent prices soaring by as much as 50 per cent, with some desperate holidaymakers resorting to outbidding or ‘gazumping’ each other. Pictured: Brighton beach in July last year

Travel Counsellors, which operates a network of 1,500 travel professionals in the UK, saw its highest number of UK holiday bookings ever last week, with sales at ten times the level they were at this time last year and 20 per cent up on week on week.

A spokesman said a majority of bookings has come from customers aged 55 and over, with many saying they were looking to get away after having the Covid-19 vaccine.

Bloomstays, a boutique agency with 50 self-catering cottages, has been forced to create a waiting list because of demand.

‘There is an air of desperation,’ says co-founder Rowena Owen. ‘The pent-up demand to travel is huge. Bookings are up by 50 per cent on this time last year.

‘Anything with a hot tub, a pool, or that is beach-side is booked up from June through to September. We’ve seen a 30 per cent increase for Christmas bookings too.’

She said she has been shocked by guests attempting to gazump.

Simply Sea Views, an agency with more than 8,000 cottages on its books, told The Mail on Sunday that Padstow in Cornwall is already 99 per cent booked for high season

Simply Sea Views, an agency with more than 8,000 cottages on its books, told The Mail on Sunday that Padstow in Cornwall is already 99 per cent booked for high season

‘We’ve had people offering to pay the full balance straight away and £500 more in order to secure a property that’s already let,’ she said.

‘I’ve been in the holiday rental business for 20 years and I’ve not come across it before.’

Demand for campsites and motorhomes has also surged.

At Yescapa motorhome hire, which covers the UK and Europe, almost half of the company’s campervans are booked for August.

James Warner Smith, editor at Cool Camping, which hosts more than 500 sites around the UK, said February bookings for the summer were up 300 per cent on last year.

Travel agencies are also reporting a surge of people putting their homes and land up for rental to take advantage of the staycation boom.

This post was first published on DailyMail.

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