Recovering seaside towns are going to be busy this bank holiday weekend as train tickets surpass levels before the pandemic and are expected to bring a huge boost to businesses.
A study by WPI Economics undertaken for the Rail Delivery Group has revealed that leisure passengers spend £116 on a trip on shopping, eating out, hotels and other leisure activities. The research shows that people spend an average of £40 on food and drink, £31 on accommodation, £23 on shopping, £13 on other travel and £10 on entertainment or culture. This brings a potential of £46bn spending connected with leisure travel by rail in Great Britain.
Rail industry figures reveal that ticket sales have more than doubled for seaside destinations compared to the August bank holiday of 2020 with the data showing an increase of 117%. When compared with the August bank holiday of 2019, this year has seen an increase of 17%. People are making the most of the summer months and the figures show this, as it is the first week that leisure travel has surpassed pre-pandemic levels throughout the UK. National leisure travel has grown by 97% of pre-pandemic levels since ‘Freedom Day’ on the 19th of July with many people opting for shorter distance trips.
Businesses in seaside locations who have struggled through the pandemic are expected to benefit from the increase in visitors as they spend on gifts, ice creams, fish & chips and even accommodation this bank holiday weekend.
Young people are the most confident in returning to leisure rail travel, with 16 to 25 and 26 to 30 railcards seeing an upward trend of 6.5% compared to 2019 and out performing industry expectations. The 26 to 30 railcard has seen journey increase to 300k each week which is an increased of 43k journeys since the start of June. Journeys using the 16 to 25 railcard are up a massive 1.03 million each week, which is an increase of 49k journeys since the start of June.
Whilst leisure travel by train is on the up and recovering well, commuting and business travel by rail are still very much lower than pre-pandemic numbers, with rail industry revenue reaching just 59% when compared to figures from 2019. To try and build confidence in train travel once again, the rail industry has released a huge national campaign which features the message ‘Lets get back on track’. Rail operators have also worked alongside the Government to bring in new Flexi Season tickets to give improved value to commuters returning to rail and also where people’s work routines may have changed working from both home and office.
Rail operators are supporting passengers by providing information about busy travel times and services along with good ventilation, which refreshes the air every 6 to 9 minutes, and enhanced cleaning routines.
95% of Britains rail network is open as normal over the bank holiday weekend as Network Rail have planned engineering work very carefully to keep disruption to a minimum and only a few lines, stations and destinations effected by their £90m improvement scheme which will bring a better and more reliable train service for the future.
Passengers are asked to check before making their journeys and use the National Rails Alert Me by Messengers service, which will provide personalised information relating to their journey, which will give alternative routes should a journey become disrupted or is found to be busy.
Please visit www.nationalrail.co.uk for further information.
Jacqueline Starr, Chief Executive of the Rail Delivery Group, said: “At the end of every train line are livelihoods and businesses that will depend on rail to be the difference they need to recover, so as we look forward to a bumper bank holiday weekend, leisure passengers can feel good that they’re supporting a fair, clean recovery while they’re beating the bank holiday traffic jams.
“We’re asking customers to sign up for personal alerts about their journey through National Rail on Messenger so that they can make the most of their day off.”
VisitBritain Deputy CEO Patricia Yates said: “We are delighted to see people traveling to and enjoying our coastal regions and it’s fantastic to see so many headed out and about to enjoy the best of the Great British Summer for this Bank Holiday Weekend.”
“With the convenience, ease and sustainability of domestic rail travel, this boost will have a positive impact on our coastal regions, boosting economic growth and spreading the benefits of tourism across Britain.”
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