UK & World News

  • 27 July 2013, 8:55

'Staycations' Helping Businesses Thrive

The recent heatwave appears to have persuaded more people to go on a 'staycation' this summer, giving businesses a welcome boost.

Temperatures have consistently topped 30C (86F) in the last few weeks, making the UK hotter than some traditional tourist destinations.

It has been welcome news for those earning a living in the UK's tourism industry.

In the East Neuk - as locals call a small corner of Fife on the east coast of Scotland - the last few years have been tough for some businesses.

Consecutive wet summers and the economic downturn have taken their toll.

But this year, tourism seems to be booming once more, with local businesses cashing in.

At Cluny Clays Outdoor Activity Centre, near Kirkcaldy, family visitor numbers are up considerably on last year.

Drew Shedden, co-owner, told Sky News: "In June we were up 60 to 70%, and this month we're up 61% on footfall.

"I think there are many reasons, but the weather has got to be one of them.

"When the sun shines families are happy to stay closer to home and enjoy what's around them.

"I also think people have a bit more hope about the future of the economy ... so it's all good news for local businesses."

One newlywed, who was enjoying the sunshine at the centre, backed up that theory.

She told Sky News: "We only got married last year so we don't have the money to go away this year.

"But we're not really worried about that because the weather has been so good.

"When it's like this it's just nice to stay in the UK."

The fine weather has been a welcome bonus for the foreign tourists too, who seem to have returned to Fife in their thousands, especially further up the coast at St Andrews.

The Scores Hotel, which borders the world famous golf course, has seen record numbers of guests - especially Americans - checking in.

One visitor from Cleveland, Ohio, said: "I'm going to be retiring next year and this is a bucket list kind of thing.

"But this is the Mecca for world golf and the weather's great so we're glad to be here."

It all makes for good business. 

Eric Brown, General Manager of The Scores Hotel, said: "We have got the highest occupancy ever for July this year, some of that is driven by new rooms we've built on this year, but some is just down to demand being particularly high.

"Some from the home market, some from overseas, so it's really very good."

The effect on tourism in the Kingdom of Fife reflects what seems to be happening across Scotland and the rest of the UK.

However, for now, the forecast for the great British weather isn't looking quite so bright.