Stag and hen do firm claim Putin to blame for dip in trip numbers

Stag and hen dos that would normally be taking place abroad are being held in the UK, a wedding party firm has said.

Last Night Of Freedom, a company that helps people create their dream stag and hen parties, claims that Brits are being put off the idea of travelling to Eastern Europe since Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

They claim that the popularity of the destinations nosedived as soon as the violence started, with the streams of revellers normally heading to the likes of Krakow in Poland and Budapest in Hungary evaporating overnight.

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Last Night of Freedom boss Matt Mavir said: “After two years of Covid, we’d anticipated a boom across Europe and Britain, but Putin put a spanner in the works for a good chunk of the continent.”

They claim that bookings to Poland fell off by 60% at their peak, trips to Riga in Latvia by 39% and jaunts to Budapest by 45%.

Meanwhile, the number of pre-wedding partiers heading to Blackpool has doubled since the war broke out in February.

The seaside hotspot is not alone either, with most common British hen and stag destinations enjoying a bump in numbers in the same time period.

Bristol has enjoyed a huge 115% leap – the biggest change in the country – while Newcastle and Liverpool top the European charts for the most popular places in the continent.

Other seaside spots like Southampton, Brighton and Bournemouth have also enjoyed a bumper year.

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According to Mr Mavir, of the top 25 most visited destinations, only Prague and Budapest rank among them from Eastern Europe.

He says that while this is of course bad news for many popular destinations across Europe, the benefits for the UK could be huge.

“Stags and hens generally don’t scrimp on their weekend and local hotels, bars, restaurants and activity providers will all have benefitted from the extra visitors,” he said.

“We expected Britain to be busy this year as business was always going to pick up following two years of rules and restrictions. The public were desperate to get away.

“There were effectively three years of weddings to cram into one season. However, Eastern Europe has taken a huge hit and we believe that Russia ’s invasion of Ukraine is the key reason.

“As soon as it happened, business in the bloc effectively stopped. There was great uncertainty, especially in those first few weeks, and I think a lot of customers would have found it difficult to party near a warzone and a humanitarian crisis.”

Despite the benefits here though, Matt says the hit that many Eastern European countries will be taking are a major issue.

He added: “During Spring and Summer, Eastern Europe is typically teeming with stags and hens so the drop in bookings is a cruel, devastating blow.

“Much of their tourism and hospitality sector is built around stags and hens so the war has been nothing short of a nightmare for them. My heart breaks, as Eastern Europe has been so good to our industry.”


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