WPI Economics has carried out a study for Rail Delivery Group undertaking research which indicates that people travelling by train for holidays or day trips spend around £107 per trip by shopping, eating out, stopping at hotels or other activities.
Concerns showed by the retail, hospitality and retail sectors would be the potential impact of traffic congestion and its effect on receiving deliveries and also the likely impact on parking if visitors who usually travel by rail choose to travel by car instead.
The new research looks into the spending pattern of rail passengers and has shown that those travelling by train for day trips, holidays or weekend breaks are crucial to the recovery of shops, restaurants and hotels this summer.
The research has found that it is essential to encourage the travelling public back onto trains to create the knock-on spending effect, which will provide an important boost to both business and the economy.
The study has looked into pre-pandemic spending levels, with an estimated £46 billion each year being spent in the leisure sector before lockdown from those taking part in leisure-based train travel.
People spent the most on food and drink, with £15 billion being spent over a year, which equates to approximately £33 each trip.
Shopping was also high on the spending list coming in at £12 billion which works out around £31 per trip, accommodation showed a £10 billion spend or around £21 per trip with entertainment and culture coming in at £5 billion which equates to £12 per trip.
Day trippers travelling by rail also show indications of supporting small and independent businesses with 39% of those surveyed saying that they spend at least half with smaller companies.
Small and medium-sized enterprises within the retail and hospitality sectors showed that they appreciate the social benefits that train travel creates including a reduction in congestion which saves £1.2 billion.
33% of these businesses also showed concern that if rail passengers didn’t return via rail and used cars instead that it would have a negative impact on traffic congestion creating issues with deliveries and parking.
Train companies have created a ‘golden ticket giveaway’ in an attempt to support businesses and get customers back on the tracks and enjoying day trips, holidays and weekend breaks again. The competition offers 12 people a chance to win free travel for a year with bespoke tickets designed by artist and illustrator Claire Rollet. People can go online and nominate someone they think deserves a free year of travel at www.nationalrail.co.uk/goldenticket.
Rail operators are committed to supporting people back by building confidence with good ventilation which refreshes carriage air every 10 minutes or less, extra enhanced cleaning and providing improved information about busy services.
Jacqueline Starr, Chief Executive of the Rail Delivery Group, said: “We’re looking forward to connecting more customers with the people and places they love this summer, whether that’s a seaside trip with family, a night out with friends or a solo shopping spree. By taking those trips by train, it’s more than just a journey, it’s a boost for businesses that have struggled throughout the pandemic and a step towards a cleaner environment.”
Andrew Goodacre, CEO of British Independent Retailers Association, said: “Independent retailers have been particularly hard-hit by the pandemic and right now they are working hard to rebuild their businesses and consumer confidence. Making the high street safe, sustainable, and accessible is our top priority.
“With a return to rail, independent shops far and wide will be more accessible – and trips more sustainable – than ever.”
Mike James, Food Tour Guide at Savouring Bath, said: “The pandemic has really taken its toll on small businesses, not just in Bath but throughout the country. A return to rail will have an immensely positive impact on the fortunes of our business and many others in the area. I’m excited for the next chapter and to help many more people discover this fabulous city using their tastebuds.”
Tracy Harrison, General Manager at The Principal York Hotel, said: “Being only steps from York train station puts us at a unique advantage, allowing for a seamless journey for our guests who travel to us via rail. We can see first-hand the considerable benefits that rail brings to our city, and we very much look forward to welcoming a return to normal service, and the perks it generates for our local economy and communities.”
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