South Shields set for 'staycation boom', with bookings flooding in from as far as Cornwall and Essex
South Tyneside’s hotels are bracing themselves for an influx of visitors after the May 17 reopening date was confirmed.
Indoor hospitality, bed and breakfasts and hotels are among the businesses able to reopen from Monday next week.
Scott Carlucci who owns The Clifton Hotel and Coffee Shop on Ocean Road with Liz Carlucci, said the hotel is ready for the staycation ‘boom’ this summer.
Safety measures, such as contactless check in and out, will be in place and staff will be taking regular Covid-19 tests.
“We have had time to adjust, get our systems sorted and get everyone used to being back at work so now we are ready for the boom that it is going to be,” he said.
"We have had loads of bookings and we will have our lounge bar and library room open so we are looking forward to it.
"Day after day, we have had reservations so it is going to be a busy summer, that’s for sure.”
The hotel is already around 80% full on Monday, with bookings right through until October with visitors from as far as Cornwall and Essex.
Owner Scott, 50, said visitors are a mix of family groups and couples as well as those travelling to the area for weddings, which have previously been postponed.
He hopes that the staycation boom will help to see the business through the winter if restrictions return.
"It is good because a lot of people are coming to South Shields who have never been before, so it is a good opportunity for us to showcase the town and tell people where to go and what things to do,” he said.
"It is exciting and hopefully we will see more and more people taking breaks in this country.
“We have had people book from all over the country – a lot of people from Kent, Essex – and a wide range of people who may not have explored the north in the past are taking the opportunity to do so, which is great."
He added: "Weekends are fully booked for a long time and we’re booked up until the end of September early October.
“We’re not fully booked but we're at high occupancy levels weekdays and weekends.
"We’re counting on this to hopefully see us through as we don’t know what winter is going to be like.”
He went on: "People are messaging us all the time saying they are really looking forward to coming. They have not been away for a long time.
"Even our regulars, when we put posts on Facebook, have been sending us messages saying they are looking forward to coming, which is really good.”
The Grotto at Marsden, which has revamped its bar area ahead of reopening, has also had a number of bookings – with many people from the town choosing to stay there for a break close to home.
Manager Will Smith said: “A lot of people from South Shields are coming to stay as it is a nice night away and people want to stay in an iconic place.”