An expert in the leisure industry has highlighted the holiday park and caravan sectors as having the potential to benefit from a possible ‘staycation’ boom in the UK – if they approach the opportunity correctly.
Adam Parton, partner at Kendal-based chartered accountants and business advisors MHA Moore & Smalley, said if lockdown measures continue to ease, there will be opportunities for leisure facilities which can offer safe holiday destinations to British tourists.
Adam, an advisor to tourism businesses across the region, believes holiday and caravan parks could potentially benefit thanks to the amount of green spaces available at such destinations and the relative lack of shared spaces. Likewise, he also expects a resurgence in ‘glamping’, tent and cottage holidays for the same reasons.
However, Adam warns that to attract customers, these destinations will need to go out of their way to showcase how they are ensuring visitor safety – including such methods as a cleanliness rating.
He said: “The leisure industry is planning for an easing in the lockdown rules to allow for UK holidays to take place, possibly from July 4.
“There is clearly some uncertainty over how this year will play out, but we are certainly expecting domestic tourism to bounce back strongly in 2021, so the next few months will be a way for the sector to at least dip its feet in the water and begin to understand what works and what doesn’t.
“Organisations including the BHHPA (British Holiday Home Parks Association) are lobbying the Government hard to illustrate the safe options for holidaymakers within the UK, pointing out that outdoor activities are already regarded as safer – ideal for holiday parks, caravans and camping facilities.
“These kinds of destinations may be able to illustrate safe reopening quicker than hotels, for instance, and we’ll likely see them become opportunities for family and extended families – depending on how far the lockdown is relaxed – to get together.
“A lot will depend on how these facilities can be opened safely – how they can create and maintain social distancing and how this will affect communal areas and the safe functioning of onsite facilities such as shops, cafes and washrooms.
“I think we will begin to see tourists interested in knowing these details in the same way they would previously have looked at what leisure facilities were available, and whether there was onsite WiFi.”
Adam said that many businesses will already have plans in place for reopening safely, but will be looking to the Government for guidance.
Currently, July 4 is the earliest likely date for reopening of campsites and similar facilities, but only if the Government’s tests have been met regarding factors including the numbers of Coronavirus infections and testing rates.
Adam said: “If it is safe to do so, these facilities should be opening when they can, to provide employment, support the companies which operate them, and to give the UK population the chance of a break from the current situation.
“Now that the lockdown has begun to ease somewhat, we will be watching with interest to see how the situation progresses over coming weeks.”