Camping and caravan: Expert predicts holiday restart date – best time to ‘grab a bargain’
Park Holidays is just one of many UK holiday providers which reported “soaring sales” after the end of the first lockdown in 2020 and the firm says it is “optimistic” about what 2021 will bring. Yet with lockdown ongoing in the UK, some Britons may be itching to find out when they can pack their bags and enjoy a change of scenery.
Though there has been no official confirmation from Prime Minister Boris Johnson as to when restrictions will ease, Geoff Barnes, marketing director for Park Holidays shared his prediction with Express.co.uk.
“We are hopeful that staycations will be permitted in time for Easter although it is important that restrictions are lifted only when it is safe to do so,” he said.
The travel expert also highlighted ways in which camping and caravan holidays are well suited to post-lockdown adventures.
“We are fortunate that our holiday parks are well suited to social distancing with detached accommodation for each family at least five meters away from the nearest neighbour,” he explained.
“Rural and coastal locations away from towns and cities allow people to enjoy the great outdoors with minimal risk of infection due to low population density.”
However, he suggests holidaymakers who are hoping to get away in 2021 should start looking to book their travels now, particularly if lockdown lasts much longer than anticipated.
“If post-lockdown demand is similar to last summer then we anticipate parks will fill very quickly,” he said.
“The longer lockdown continues, the quicker we will sell out for the season as there will be fewer dates available and a growing number of customers wanting to book.
“We would therefore recommend that customers book now in order to secure their holiday, safe in the knowledge that we will refund in full, and quickly if we are unable to offer the holiday due to travel restrictions.”
He continued: “As we answer these questions, we can see in real-time that demand has started to grow which suggests that people are realising there may be more demand for holidays than there are holidays available so I would encourage anyone wanting a holiday with us this year to book now and avoid missing out.”
A rise in demand could additionally mean prices going up in some locations – particularly for customers booking during peak seasons.
This is another reason why Mr Barnes recommends securing a booking in advance.
“Prices do fluctuate with demand so if you are able to take say a four-night Monday to Friday break outside of school holidays, you can often grab a bargain,” he pointed out.
“The most popular hotspots, attractions and beaches will also be less busy at these times so you’ll get a more relaxed holiday and a great deal at the same time.”
Mr Barnes continued: “The hassle, cost and even fear of travelling overseas, even in a post-pandemic climate will help demand for domestic tourism.
“More awareness of climate change and the UK’s newfound appreciation and love of the British coast and countryside will ensure that demand is set to continue.
“We should also remember that holiday park operators such as ourselves have been steadily investing in high-quality accommodation and facilities in recent years which has been a pleasant surprise to those guests that have tried us for the first time in 2020 and now want to return again.”
Mr Barnes also pointed to holiday home ownership as another avenue which many more Britons are beginning to pursue.
“On the other side of the business, interest in holiday homeownership continues to grow during the current lockdown as it has since the start of the pandemic,” he said.
“We are planning for an extremely busy period of holiday home purchases once the current restrictions are lifted, it’s just a matter of when.”
As a result of current booking and search trends, Mr Barnes believes the UK tourism industry is set for a sustained period of popularity in the years to come.
“Experts are predicting it will take more than five years for the overseas holiday market to recover, so we are well placed to fulfil the demand and will be continuing with our improvement investment programme,” he said.