It’s really no big surprise to us that the UK receives more than 30 million tourists a year!
Which ranks us in the top 10 most visited countries in the whole world!
When you work in Tourism, you see first-hand how truly blessed we are here in Plymouth; with our hugely diverse landscape, sandy beaches just a short drive away, hidden coves, moorland and more!
With all this on the New Continental Hotels doorstep; we love hearing our guests’ talk of their explorations and their ‘Devon Discoveries’!
With 2020 now in sight, and the big celebration of the Mayflower voyage 400 years ago; we take a look back at holidays gone by. We make our own predictions when we ask:
“What might the future look like for travel?”
Jetting off to foreign lands will always hold a certain sense of adventure. Like for those that we will commemorate on the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower, who sailed from Plymouth to America; carrying the pilgrims who founded the modern United States.
They were off to foreign lands for an ‘adventure’ – but how we choose to ‘holiday’ has changed so much throughout time.
The travel industry is a sector that will always undergo dramatic transformations; be that due to digital revolutions, fashionable trends, politics or the social and economic climate.
What has never changed though, is why we holiday; it’s to make wonderful memories.
That’s what we love to be part of, and that is why no matter what transformations take place; our passion for holidaying here at the New Continental Hotel and in Plymouth will never fade.
Holidays Gone By…
It was in 1841, Thomas Cook started the holiday industry rolling with their ground-breaking offer of a shilling-a-head rail excursion from Leicester to Loughborough! Then followed swiftly in the 1870s, with the Lancashire cotton workers, who really helped develop UK holidaying. They saved all year to convert the traditional (unpaid) one-week holiday into seaside breaks. A chance for the whole family to come together and enjoy each other’s company; without the stresses of everyday life!
Then, 80 years ago in 1939, we saw holiday leave became a legal right for employees! And by 1975 most people had at least two weeks’ paid holiday a year!
For the rich jet setters 1976 saw the supersonic aircraft Concorde enter commercial services; people could now cross the Atlantic in a record 2 hours 52 minutes!!
Fast forward to 1979; a year when for the first time in history we spent more on overseas holidays than on holidays at home!
Why was this?
Well, for £50 you could spend a week in the glamorous Majorca – with the sun on your back and hotel bedrooms that had balconies and ensuite bathrooms!
And, when we talk about an industry that can be transformed overnight by factors such as social media and digital revolutions; could it also be perhaps transformed by TV?!?
In 1975, a new comedy aired on BBC2; Faulty Towers! A hilarious comedy that neatly exaggerated bad hospitality in the UK..! Could that have helped galvanise holiday’s abroad Vs staycations?!
Perhaps – but the way we book holidays today would certainly look like science fiction to the holidaymaker of the 70’s; actually, probably to those in the early 90s too!
Package holidays were sold mainly from high street agencies, the only reviews in the 90’s were from friends at dinner tables. Travellers had little real clue what to expect before they arrived. Internet access was limited and the Smartphone still in development, holidaying in the 90’s was a very different kettle of fish!
Now, in 2019, we can see another big shift! The Staycation!
Our favourite for obvious reasons! Travellers searching for better value breaks, with a growing demand for interesting destinations closer to home. Destinations like Plymouth, that have a plethora of history, heritage and beautiful vistas!
Interestingly, here at the New Continental Hotel, we have also noticed a connection that we like to call: the ‘nostalgic staycation’!
If we look back to the early 80’s, when the UK entered a recession – with falling output, rising unemployment and a fall in the inflation rate; if holidays were taken, they were taken in the UK and just a short drive away from home – due to fuel prices.
We have had many conversations with adults holidaying with us, those in their 40’s, who are bringing their family back to Plymouth to relive their childhood memories.
The time was tough for families – but the holiday memories were so magical they want their children to experience them.
2018 proved to be a really successful year for the staycation market; we have also noticed that this year looks like more and more families, friends and couples are also choosing to holiday in Plymouth. And that makes us immensely proud.
We ask our guests what the ingredients are for a perfect holiday at home. Top is obviously a great location; but also an extra eye for the details that matter, whether it’s parking, or high speed Wi-Fi, or a warm family welcome. It’s these thoughtful touches that make our family owned hotel a winner for many holidayers; those from both home and away!
Throughout the years; tourism has been the lifeblood of many communities up and down the UK and many travellers are realising the fun to be had by discovering what’s on offer just beyond their doorstep.
What can we expect in the year 2039 – 20 years from now? Perhaps we will be sitting on-board a pilotless plane; with a chip in our wrist that tells the robot with the trolley our dietary requirements, and the exact temperature we like our Gin? Maybe we will all have a programme that aids us when speaking languages. Or no luggage as hotels will know what we want and our disposal holiday wares will be waiting for us. Or electronic implants that pay as we check-in..?
Who knows what our holidaying will look like 20 years from now; but one thing I am sure we can all be certain of; holidaying will always be that moment in time that we make magical memories … together. Like those on the Mayflower setting off on their adventures. Regardless of where we go, or why we go, or how we get there, or what we experience along the way; holidaying will always be about togetherness.
Whatever the future has in store; the wonderful world of holidays will always be exciting, because we will be with the people we love.
So, here’s to the next two decades of Devon adventures; of Plymouth exploring; and a hotel that hopes to help you create wonderful memories in Britain’s Ocean City.