Britons ignore ministers and rush to book UK summer holidays

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Holiday cottage firms and campsites see ‘stampede’ in bookings since January

A day is a long time in the pandemic. On Wednesday morning Grant Shapps’ “don’t book a trip anywhere” warning was greeted with dismay by UK tourism businesses, but by the end of the day it was clear that the public had no intention of heeding his advice: they were booking UK holidays regardless, and in droves.

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Pitchup, an online platform listing 2,000 campsites, caravan parks and glampsites in the UK, ended Wednesday 47% up on the same day in 2020, and was 92% up by the end of Thursday. Beth Bailey of Premier Cottages saw “absolutely no slow down whatsoever”, while Under the Thatch, a collection of boutique cottages in Wales, said sales in the first 12 days of February were 300% up on the same period in 2020. “It’s really encouraging, and I’m heartened that whatever [the government] seems to throw at us, we can and do bounce back stronger,” said the founder, Greg Stevenson.

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