Train trips to the beach are back on track – with ticket sales to the seaside for the August Bank Holiday surpassing pre-pandemic levels.
Ticket sales to seaside destinations have more than doubled compared to last year’s August bank holiday (up by 117 per cent) and have surpassed the same pre-pandemic weekend in 2019 (up by 17 per cent). It’s the first week since restrictions lifted, on 19 July, that travel has surpassed pre-pandemic levels in many locations.
Leisure travel nationally has risen to 97 per cent of pre-pandemic levels since all restrictions lifted – driven particularly by short distance trips.
It is hoped this will translate into income for seaside businesses who were struggling in the pandemic. According to research by WPI Economics, carried out on behalf of the Rail Delivery Group, train passengers travelling to seaside destinations for leisure spend on average £116 per trip. This includes an average £40 on food and drink, £31 on accommodation, £23 on shopping, £13 on other travel and £10 on entertainment and culture.
Meanwhile, young people look to be making leisure trips. Total sales of railcards, which give people a third off most leisure fares, are up 6.5 per cent compared to 2019, driven by sales of 26-30 and 16-25 railcards – beating industry expectations. Journeys with the 26-30 railcard have increased to 300,000 a week (up 43,000 journeys since the beginning of June) and journeys with the 16-25 railcard are up to 1.03m journeys a week (up 49,000 journeys since the beginning of June).
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.”