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"Write something worth reading or do something worth writing" A blog by Amy Willis, a multimedia journalist based in London

People forced to spend their holidays at home

Apr 6 2009 By Amy Willis, Western Mail

THE Easter getaway began this weekend with more people expected to stay in the UK this year than travel overseas due to the current economic climate.

A survey by insurance company Legal & General revealed almost three in five people are changing their holiday plans, with around 20% opting for a “staycation” at home. A further 21% plan to stay with friends and family, rather than face the expense of booking into a hotel. One in five people who took a holiday abroad last year intended to stay within the UK for their break this year with 18% saying they can not afford a holiday overseas due to the recession. Families with children were the most likely to change their plans and stay at home, according to the research.

Welsh transport routes remained quiet this weekend despite the anticipated rise in holidaying at home – but with 45% of people planning to travel within the UK over the Easter holiday, the main rush is expected on Thursday and Friday.

Caravans

Caravans

Popular Welsh tourist areas were yesterday hoping it would remain busy despite wet weather forecasts.

Debbie Reynolds, 54, joint owner of Fortes Cafe, in Barry Island, said: “The island has been busier than usual this weekend. People are coming for a day out on the island as it is cheaper than going elsewhere. I think we are going back to the old days of people going to the seaside for their holidays.”

The AA said they expected more caravans on the roads this year as people choose to stay in the UK. Andrew Howard, head of road safety for the motoring organisation, said: “There will be a lot more caravans as more people are staying in this country rather than heading abroad. We are also expecting motorcycle enthusiasts to be on the road because of the good weather and the time of year.

“From a road safety perspective we are warning people to be extra careful and be aware of different types of traffic to the winter months – particularly where the weather is good.”

Meanwhile, Traffic Wales warned that the usual congestion blackspots would see heavier- than-normal traffic over Easter due to a combination of holiday traffic and roadworks.

A spokesman for the organisation said Junction 24, Coldra, of the M4 would be particularly badly hit in both directions due to a road-widening project. These roadworks will start today, continue throughout the Easter period and last until 2011.

Train operators have already responded to the expected trend away from foreign holidays.

The Association of Train Operating Companies said that from Maundy Thursday to Easter Monday, a total of 10 million passengers in the UK were likely to travel on 64,000 train services – 5,000 more services than were run last Easter.

Those taking to the trains over the holiday were warned to expect the usual Bank Holiday delays on some routes, as Network Rail engages in a £55m programme of engineering works. Over the Easter weekend in Wales, bus replacement services will be running between Bristol Parkway and Newport, Llandudno and Blaenau Ffestiniog, and Newtown and Machynlleth.

A Network Rail spokesman stressed the necessity for the engineering works. He said: “We are embarking on a period of record investment in the railway, over the next five years to enable passengers to enjoy even more reliable, frequent and comfortable journeys in future.

“Over the Easter weekend, our engineers will work day and night across the country to build Britain a bigger and better railway. Fewer people travel by rail on bank holiday weekends, so work at this time is less disruptive than in a normal working week.”

Travel organisation Abta said around two million people were still likely go abroad this Easter but many are choosing to head for city breaks outside the eurozone due to the weakness of the pound.

The most popular spots include Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia and the Canary Islands, while Cuba and Florida are among the most-popular long-haul destinations.

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Filed under: Cardiff News, Portfolio, , ,

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