Come rain or more rain, Brits holidaying at home

Thu Jul 19, 2012 4:21am EDT
 
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By Jonathan Cable and Yati Himatsingka

LONDON (Reuters) - Don't Fly. An odd advertising slogan for an airline but more and more Britons appear to be following the advice as they holiday at home rather than jetting off to sunnier climes.

That's despite the gloomiest British summer in living memory, as rain of mythical proportions has meant little sunshine for months.

"The weather has been dreadful but why would you want to go away? We love staying in cottages in the countryside," said David Kitching, who was visiting London for the day with his 13-year-old daughter from Leicestershire, in the midlands of England.

"There's nothing to do when you are abroad but sit by the pool. Here, we've been to farms, National Trust places, Leicester Square, shops, restaurants, and we're going to watch the cricket next week," the warehouse manager added.

British Airways says its latest advertising campaign, "Don't Fly. Support Team GB" is a tongue-in-cheek encouragement for Britons to cheer on their athletes in this summer's London Olympics and Paralympics.

With predicted gridlock in the capital and three hour queues at airport immigration, more people are looking to 'staycation' or 'nearcation' - the idea of vacationing at, or near, your home.

The latest government statistics show visits abroad in the 12 months ending in May 2012 are 1 percent lower than in 2011.

And as Britain wallows in its second recession in four years, cash-strapped holidaymakers are facing rising unemployment and wages that have failed to keep up price rises.   Continued...