Scarborough prepares for a busy 'staycation' boom over summer

Scarborough is set for a booming summer season with bookings increasing on the Yorkshire Coast, nearly a month after the roadmap out of lockdown was announced.

By George Buksmann and Sarah Fitton
Thursday, 18th March 2021, 11:09 am

Hospitality businesses have reported an upsurge in bookings for this summer as UK seaside holidays are expected to soar with so much uncertainty surrounding travelling abroad.

After months of crippling restrictions, Scarborough’s tourism sector is looking forward to welcoming guests once again and could prove to be one of the cheapest destinations in the country.

New data from Which? magazine suggests that Scarborough and Whitby could be among the cheapest, best-value UK seaside destinations this summer.

Accommodation providers in Scarborough are seeing a sharp rise in bookings for the summer.

Rebecca Davidson, who runs boutique bed and breakfast The Cordelia on Esplanade Road, said they have been receiving bookings every day since the roadmap announcement was made last month.

“We still have quite a lot of gaps but bookings have been coming in since the roadmap announcement.

“Once the key dates come and once people see things opening, they will have more confidence that the later stages will go ahead as planned.

“I feel confident that we will have a good summer.”

Scarborough's harbour and beaches could be heaving with tourists once again this summer.

Under the current roadmap, should step one out of lockdown be a success, from April 12 ‘self-contained accommodation’ will be allowed to open. This means any accommodation where the kitchen, bathroom and toilet are used by one family only, for the duration of their stay.

From May 17 onwards hotels, hostels and B&Bs can reopen.

Rachel Crowther, Director of holiday apartments The Sands at Peasholm Gap, said: “Scarborough is set for a very busy season and The Sands is seeing unprecedented demand for when we open on May 17.

“With holidays abroad being very limited, this is the year of the staycation and Scarborough is set to benefit immensely.”

The view over Scarborough's South Bay from Oliver's Mount.

Lynn Jackson, vice-president of the Scarborough Hospitality Association said: “I think there’s a fair level of confidence among hospitality and tourism.

“Self-catering is off the scale because it’s perceived as safer and you can stay in your bubble if you wish to go away on holiday.

“I think glamping, camping and caravanning will do superbly well this year, hopefully with a bit of good weather.

“It’s still slow at the minute for the beginning of the year, but for most of us bookings in June, July, August are picking up,” she said.

“There was a bit of a spurt at the beginning with people putting their prices up but you can’t afford to put people off.

“I think we’re just really good value.”

Which? compared prices in the top 10 most visited UK seaside holiday destinations and found prices have increased in every case from last summer.

Yet prices in Scarborough and Whitby remained relatively low, providing great value for money, rising by just seven and five per cent respectively.

Which? found that a seven-night stay in Scarborough bought through Airbnb cost £677 this summer compared to £631 last year.

Likewise, a seven-night stay in Whitby cost just £737 rather than £700; by comparison, a seven-night stay in Brighton had increased by more than £400.

Pat Hendry, one of the partners at the family-run Weston Hotel on Esplanade, said she thinks people are being cautious but she is hopeful of more bookings as confidence grows.

Scarborough and Whitby's MP Robert Goodwill has welcomed the news that bookings are increasing on the Yorkshire coast: "We are expecting a busy summer. Quite a lot of people are concerned about travelling abroad still. Hopefully this summer will give our tourism businesses a chance to make up for lost time," he said.

"Once restrictions are relaxed and people are allowed to travel we will welcome them here."

Mr Goodwill added there seems to be a north-south divide when it comes to holiday prices, with some businesses elsewhere trying to make up for business they lost last year by increasing their prices.

He has had positive feedback from local self-catering accommodation owners, who may be able to open from next month, who have been busy with bookings.

He believes hotels, guest houses and other accommodation, which may be able to welcome people from May, should see bookings increase nearer that time.