Norfolk park director is new BH&HPA chairman

Paul Searle, pictured outside Searles Leisure Resort in Norfolk, says the park industry's diversity is its strength

Paul Searle, pictured outside Searles Leisure Resort in Norfolk, says the park industry’s diversity is its strength

Paul Searle, managing director of Searles Leisure Resort in Hunstanton, North Norfolk, has become the new national chairman of the British Holiday & Home Parks Association (BH&HPA).

The organisation brings together the owners and managers of some 3,000 park businesses ranging from farm-based camping sites to major park groups, as well as residential parks.

Paul (aged 46) heads one of Norfolk’s largest and most popular holiday centres which he manages in partnership with his brother Andrew and sister Joanna.

The family business was founded in 1954 by Paul’s grandfather, Geoffrey, and began life as a modest touring park serving visitors to the popular coastal resort of Hunstanton.

Successive generations of the Searle family have put their own stamp on its character, and added to the range of facilities, attractions and accommodation options.

Today, Searles provides more than 500 privately owned and rented caravan holiday homes and lodges, as well as 300-plus touring pitches plus luxury timber camping pods.

Swimming pools, such as at Searles Leisure Resort (above) help families make the most of their leisure, says Paul

Swimming pools, such as at Searles Leisure Resort (above), help families make the most of their leisure, says Paul

The park employs around 200 people, plus an addition 50 staff at its Heacham Manor hotel which was converted by Searles from a listed Elizabethan building.

Searles’ many accolades include the David Bellamy Conservation Award, and this winter it took the overall prize in the holiday parks category of the EDP Hoseasons Tourism Awards.

Paul believes that the association he now chairs is stronger today than at any other point in its 60-plus year history:

“Ours is an incredibly diverse industry, bringing together businesses of all types and sizes,” he says.

“The sector includes many long-established family-owned enterprises, which form the majority of BH&HPA’s membership, as well as major holiday park groups with a national presence.

“What binds us together, however, is a common goal – and it’s that of constantly evolving, and refining the standard of the services and facilities we offer to customers.

“An important way to achieve this is by parks coming together to share their knowledge and experience, and the association is the perfect platform for facilitating this,” said Paul.

According to tourist board statistics, parks accommodated 13.5 million holidays in 2015, a figure which equates to 30% of all holiday nights spent by domestic holidaymakers in Britain.

Paul follows his father, Richard, who served as BH&HPA national chairman from 1995 to 1997, and who was appointed MBE for his services to tourism in 2001.

Paul is married to Vicky, and the couple have two children. His sporting interests include hockey, in which he has competed at senior regional league level, as well as cricket and golf.

There is more information about Searles Leisure Resort at www.searles.co.uk

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