Date of release: Tuesday, October 18, 2016

James Kennell Self-Catering - House of Commons launchMore than £3 billion is spent each year by those taking self-catering holidays in England, according to research by the University of Greenwich.

In the first large-scale national study to assess the impact of the sector, researchers found that self-catering also supports more than 20,000 jobs. This gives a vital boost to many rural and coastal economies across the country.

Tourism expert James Kennell, from the university's Business School, says: "The self-catering sector is massively important to national and local economic well-being, and yet is probably under-acknowledged. The sector has a key role to play in many of the most disadvantaged areas of the country, and in fact many of the self-catering properties are in regions targeted for economic development by government policymakers.

"Tourists are coming to many of these places from more prosperous parts of the UK, and from overseas, and are therefore boosting lots of local economies. We also discovered that self-catering accommodation is a major component of the 'staycation' phenomenon that the country is seeing, and so we expect its impact to continue for the long term."

Mr Kennell and Dr Ewa Krolikowska, from the university's Economic Development Resource Centre, analysed 200,000 bookings records, finding out where holidaymakers came from, where they stayed and for how long, which months they visited in, and how much they spent on their visits.

Figures showed the most popular areas for self-catering holidays are Cornwall and Devon, followed by Norfolk, Cumbria and Suffolk. Nearly half of those booking self-catering stayed at the seaside, with over a third opting for the countryside or a village. The average length of stay is six nights for those from the UK, and over seven nights for international visitors.

The research received a prestigious launch in the House of Commons in an event hosted by Neil Parish MP, Chair of the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs Select Committee.

The study was carried out on behalf of the English Association of Self-Catering Operators.

The university is now aiming to carry out even more extensive research into the value of the sector, by accessing a decade's worth of visitor records.

To find out about studying at the University of Greenwich's Business School:

Twitter: @jameskennell

Story by Public Relations