British beach breaks bust stress, says research

A study has revealed that a holiday to England’s coast could significantly enhance relationships and general sense of well-being.

In a Holiday Trends survey conducted by independent research consultancy BDRC, 80% of holidaymakers on a domestic seaside escape said it had brought them closer together, while 78% agreed that the holiday reduced stress – suggesting a break to the beach has a more positive impact on relationships than other types of holiday in the UK and abroad.

The survey also claims that visiting England’s beaches as a youngster makes people far more likely to return as an adult, with 91% of visitors to the coast saying they took seaside holidays as a child.

The National Coastal Tourism Academy (NCTA) collaborated with BDRC for the survey.

Samantha Richardson, NCTA director, said: “We’ve seen previous research linking a perceived improvement in well-being by visiting the coast but this new research demonstrates that it can be significantly beneficial to relationships and that coastal holidays score more highly than other types of holiday on a number of levels.

“Respondents said a coastal break brought them closer together, helped resolve difficulties and reduced stress levels. Some 85% said that it improved their general well-being.

“We’ve always suspected that a childhood visit might influence the holiday-making decisions of adults, but this research confirms the magnetic pull of the coast.

“More than half of respondents who took a coastal holiday said their choice was influenced by a childhood seaside visit.

“The importance of that visit as a child was significantly higher than for other holiday types which could be linked to the positive well-being effect of the coast.

“This is really exciting research with huge implications for coastal destinations, showing the importance of building relationships with visitors and providing a family-friendly welcome.

“We know holidays are incredibly important to people, but this survey confirms that even when people are faced with a major life event like a milestone birthday or financial commitment such as a new kitchen, a holiday is the top choice.

“Only 14% of respondents said they would forego a holiday to pay for a major life event.”

Main motivators for choosing to stay in the UK include scenery and landscape, safety and ease of travel.

Jon Young, research director at BDRC, added: “We regularly see the importance of nostalgia in driving leisure choices so it’s no surprise that Britons are returning to the English coast as adults to relive their experiences as a child.

“Reminding adults of their childhood experiences is a great way for coastal destinations to attract domestic visitors.  But they will need to tread the line between promoting nostalgia and being seen as old-fashioned – think sandy beaches with Wi-Fi.”

The Holiday Trends survey was conducted by BDRC and polled 1,000 adults early in 2018.