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Ash cloud chaos could have silver lining for UK tourism

As the UK’s airports begin to tentatively open their doors to the public following a week of travel chaos, experts are beginning to calculate the cost of unprecedented disruptions to British air travel.

While it’s clear that the airlines have lost huge amounts of money (around £1.1bn according to the International Air Transport Association), the cost to British tourism may yet prove to be negligible.

In fact, many industry experts believe the UK’s visitor economy may actually benefit in the long term, as the delays, cost, and discomfort suffered by stranded holiday makers may cause people to think twice about holidaying abroad in the future.

Marcus Simmons is the Managing Director of independent tourism directory iknow-uk.

He said: ‘I believe that the chaos surrounding the ash cloud, and the resulting issues for people trying to travel abroad will lead to more people considering a hassle free UK break this summer. With the latest problems we could see an uplift of 20 per cent or so for the UK tourism industry.’

The last couple of years have already seen a significant rise in the amount of Britons holidaying in the UK due to financial restrictions imposed by the recession, along with the relative strength of the euro and the dollar.

The likes of Butlins, Pontin’s and companies offering membership programmes that encourage UK tourism like The 241 Hotel Club, will be looking to take advantage of an anticipated lack of confidence in air travel. Having positioned their UK breaks as a viable alternative to foreign holidays during the recession, the 241 Hotel Club is now in a great position to capitalise on the latest set-back to befall the airlines.

Andy Huggins is the Managing Director of The Rocket Marketing Group, a partnership marketing company who have developed the 241 Hotel Club. He says he’s hoping that the latest problems facing the airlines will prompt consumers to continue taking ‘staycations’ at home.

He said: ‘One of the reasons we developed the 241 Hotel Club was due to the amount of people choosing to take their holidays in the UK rather than abroad. The club encourages people to explore the attractions and scenery that’s on their doorstep, and these latest disruptions might make more people realise that they don’t need to travel abroad to have a great holiday.’

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