Caravan parks must reopen soon or risk never reopening at all, bosses warn – The Sun

CARAVAN parks need to reopen soon — or risk never reopening at all, bosses warned yesterday.

The UK’s 6,243 holiday parks and campsites generate more than £10billion a year for the economy and provide over 170,000 full-time jobs.

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And they have never been more needed as Brits look for respite from lockdown.

Andrew Baragwanath, owner of Ayr Holiday Park in St Ives, Cornwall, said: “We are usually open 365 days of the year.

“It’s the first time I’ve closed the park in my 30 years in charge.

“This April, my income was down 96 per cent on last year.”

Former merchant seaman Andrew, 61, is national chairman of the British Holiday and Home Parks Association, which is calling for a phased reopening to start immediately.

He said: “I would say holidaying on a caravan site like mine is actually safer than going to the supermarket where you’re queuing with strangers.

“At the moment the Government seems to be looking at all ­hospitality as one thing when it comes to easing lockdown.

“We think we are a much lower risk than, say, a nightclub.”

His association has written to the Prime Minister pleading for the 2,000 parks it represents to be allowed to open this month, rather than July, as is mooted.

They want lockdown rules changed so that accommodation that does not rely on shared facilities — including static caravan holiday homes, motor homes, touring caravans and self-catering cottages — can open once more.

Jane Bentall, Haven Managing Director

THIS year could signal a real revival of the Great British holiday thanks to concerns about travelling abroad and quarantine rules.

Our parks would normally be full during this beautiful weather and we are keen to bring our teams back to work.

We have been putting new measures in place to keep all of our guests and teams safe.

There’s much to make of 2020. It could be the year when you and your family have a great time together and help support our industry.

Caravaning couple Jazzmyn Morrison and her partner Daniel Jones last year enjoyed a Sun £9.50 holiday at Butlin’s in Minehead and were looking forward to booking another this year.

Mum-of-two Jazzmyn, 28, from Plymouth, who is on furlough from her job as a service adviser in a car dealership, said: “We absolutely love our caravan holidays.

“So far, we’ve been on more than 20 around Cornwall and Devon and it would be fantastic to get outdoors again after lockdown.”

A domestic tourism surge would give the nation’s coffers a much needed boost.

VisitBritain’s forecast for 2020 shows inbound tourism spending will drop 54 per cent this year — a £15.1billion loss to the economy.

Domestic tourism is forecast to lose £22billion.


Haven — which runs 38 holiday parks across Britain — is introducing safety measures including timed slots for check-in, one-way paths and food orders via an app.

The parks — popular with Sun readers enjoying our £9.50 holiday promotions — are offering discounted Haven Hideaway breaks which won’t include access to swimming pools, pubs, restaurants and kids’ play areas, entertainment or activities.

Mini markets will still be open, along with launderettes and the option for takeaway food.

Guests will bypass reception and go straight to their caravans.

The parks will have a socially-distanced one way system and teams of PPE-wearing cleaners who will scrub caravans and public areas.

They are hoping to open to guests from July 6 — if the Government has eased lockdown rules surrounding holiday accommodation — and are guaranteeing bookings or offering money back if a holiday is cancelled due to the virus.

Jane Minot, Travel Editor

GIVING campsites the chance to open this month is essential if we’re to help Britain bounce back from the economic effects of coronavirus.

Large operators such as £9.50 Holidays partners Haven, Parkdean, Butlin’s and Warner need more time to make sure their huge operations have the right hygiene and social distancing measures in place to welcome back guests.

But letting smaller parks open earlier is the right way to get our tourist industry up and running again.

Haven’s Gerard Tempest told The Sun: “Despite all our new safety measures, it must feel like a holiday not a sterile environment.”

Thomas Marshall, 58, owns Riverside Holiday Homes and Touring at High Bentham, in Lancashire.

He said: “It’s been a family business since my father got fed up with milking cows in the 1960s.

“When I had to tell my customers we were closing on March 23, it was one of the hardest things we’ve had to do.

“I daren’t work out how much we’re down.

“We can’t furlough our nine staff as we still have the park to maintain and security.

“My message to the Government is that we are 100 per cent ready to open safely.

“Let’s get the caravan holiday home owners back.

“There’s over 250,000 of them.

“They’re all desperate to get back to their caravans

“They would drive in and park up next to their holiday home as they normally do.

“They’re all self-contained with a toilet and a bathroom.

“The caravans are all at least 5m apart and don’t have any shops or bars.

“For the motor homes and touring caravans, people can book and pay online.

“The toilet block would initially remain closed, most touring caravans have their own facilities.

“It would transform people to be able to get out to caravan parks again.

“We have people who come here in a touring caravan on a Friday night and they’re stressed out.

“They set up and by Saturday afternoon they’re a completely different person.

“They’re so chilled and relaxed, they don’t want to go home on the Sunday.”

'Caravans form an ideal social distance barrier'

Paul Searle, Searles Leisure Resort

Paul Searle can’t wait to reopen his holiday park and says he could do it tomorrow.

Searles Leisure resort on the Norfolk coast at Hunstanton can accommodate up to 3,000 guests in caravans, motorhomes and tents. Paul also has a 45-room hotel.

The dad-of-two, 50, said he was preparing to open on July 4 but is keen to get going sooner.

He said: “We could open now for our caravan owners.

“Caravans form an ideal barrier for social distancing.

“Our owners are all desperate to come back.

“It’s obviously a worrying time.

“It will be a struggle but we will survive.”

'Traditional British hols will be back with a bang'

Alfie Best, owns 800 plots in UK

Caravan king Alfie Best says Britain’s holiday parks could open safely now.

Alfie, 50, who was born in a caravan, owns Wyldecrest Parks and has 800 plots in six parks around the country.

He said: “Most people are not fortunate enough to have city homes and then second homes where they can go and relax in the country.

"Caravan holidays are the traditional British holiday.

“They are going to come back with a bang after the pandemic.

“With the correct social distancing and hygiene, we are in a position to reopen to the public as early as next week.

“It is definitely possible.”

'If scientists says it’s safe to open then I am happy'

Martin Cox, five parks, Dorset

Martin Cox’s holiday parks have survived hurricanes, the foot and mouth outbreak and the 2008 financial crisis.
But the Covid-19 pandemic has been the worst.

Martin, 66, is worried he may have to lay off some of his 45 staff at his five West Dorset Leisure Holidays parks.

He said: “We are desperate to re-open.

“I was born in the area so I want to get things moving again not just for us, but the local pubs and restaurants.

“I agree with what the Government has done so far.

“As long it follows scientific advice about when it is safe to open, then I am happy.”


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