Jabs boost prospect of long and busy year for UK parks

Parks such as Sandgreen Caravan Park in Dumfries & Galloway are anticipating no let-up in demand

VACCINATIONS are giving a shot in the arm to the business hopes of British parks this year – and with every likelihood that the busy season will continue well into autumn.

Those are two of the main findings of a new attitudes survey carried out by Caravan Sitefinder amongst hundreds of people using its holiday booking website.

But the news is less positive for overseas providers as families remain reticent about committing to foreign holidays while so many uncertainties abound.

Caravan Sitefinder’s annual spring survey takes the temperature of the holiday parks sector by examining consumer booking intentions over the coming months.

This year, more than half of those surveyed (57%) planned an exclusive UK holiday in 2021, whilst around another third (31%) hoped to enjoy both a domestic and a foreign holiday.

Autumn will still feel like peak season for holiday parks says Michael Paul

Almost half (43%) said that the success of the vaccination programme and the sharp fall in Covid infection rates were the main reasons they felt confident of taking a break.

However, that confidence didn’t extend beyond these shores, and only one in a hundred people said they were pinning their hopes on taking just a foreign holiday this year.

There were, though, caveats to taking a UK holiday this year – and principal among these was the need for an assurance of a full refund if Covid should cause a cancellation.

Caravan Sitefinder CEO Michael Paul, whose company is marking its tenth anniversary in 2021, said the survey results contained many positive messages for UK parks:

“The faith of people in the ability of British parks to provide a safe holiday environment came across strongly, and is testimony to the precautionary measures these businesses have adopted.

“But given the unpredictability of this crisis, it’s not surprising that many customers wanted a refund safeguard in place if anyone in their party had to pull out for Covid-related reasons.

“Parks may also want to heed this concern, and to encourage customers to have a refund plan in place so that their business will be protected from possible revenue losses.

“Very encouragingly, almost a quarter of those canvassed said they planned to take a holiday in autumn this year, supplementing in many cases their summer break.

“This should bring a welcome boost to many parks, and suggests that the usual sharp fall-off in bookings after the peak season may not be a phenomenon this year,” said Michael.

The only note of caution being struck by some parks, he added, was the possibility of last-minute holiday cancellations if all or most restrictions on foreign travel were lifted later this year.

“At present, this seems an unlikely prospect – but we should not ignore the possibility that some UK bookings are predicated on the assumption that overseas simply isn’t an option,” said Michael.

The Caravan Sitefinder website, which has around one million visitors annually, provides booking facilities and user reviews for thousands of camping, glamping and holiday parks

More information about Caravan Sitefinder is available at www.caravansitefinder.co.uk

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