Published on Monday, June 22, 2020
The three leading names in UK camping have sent an SOS to the Prime Minister urging him to ‘Save Our Summer’.
The Caravan and Motorhome Club, The Camping and Caravanning Club and the British Holiday and Home Parks Association (BH&HPA) have pleaded with the PM not to leave the sector behind.
Campsites have been reporting record bookings and the associations have been building plans around a July 4 opening in England, providing input into how campsites and holiday parks can open safely.
However, reports in the national press over the weekend imply that, while hotels and bed and breakfasts will be allowed to open on July 4, tourist sites with shared facilities will have to wait.
The organisations say they are ‘dismayed’ by the news.
A spokesperson said: “It now looks like there’s a real possibility that you will be able to go a pub before you can sit in your own self-contained caravan or motorhome on a campsite.”
In Italy, where the industry reopened a month ago, there have been no reports of issues, where customers are social distancing responsibly and enjoying the fresh air.
The spokesperson said: “The holidays we provide are amongst the most socially inclusive and affordable. We have so many people desperate to take a break and spend some much-needed time away from home.
“Delaying even by a few weeks would mean cancelling tens of thousands of UK getaways – holidays that are a vital part for the nation’s economic recovery and also for the wellbeing of individuals.”
Seasonal businesses campsites and holiday parks have a limited time to generate revenue, and the industry has already lost millions of pounds, jobs have gone and smaller independent operators are also struggling.
The spokesperson added: “We genuinely believe we’re in a sector that can offer a socially distanced break in the fresh air and the great outdoors where the risks are far lower and we can’t wait to welcome our holidaymakers back.”
Dan Yates, founder of outdoor accommodation booking platform Pitchup.com said: “In 60 days, the camping season is effectively over – not something that can be said for hotels, B&Bs, pubs, restaurants and other establishments expected to open – so the government needs to start making some decisions fast, or risk destroying the domestic tourism industry.
“Limiting opening will mean a vast number of Brits who cannot afford ‘self-contained’ accommodation will be denied a summer break this year. In any case, gIven that thousands will substitute a UK holiday for their usual one abroad, UK sites just won’t have the capacity to satisfy demand if accommodation is restricted to self contained units this summer.”
“We’ve seen record numbers of new UK sites listing on Pitchup.com this month, 157% more than in June last year so far, to meet demand from UK holidaymakers, but we need the government to work with us to make it viable.
“Given the brutal impact of this crisis on travel, the lack of clarity and contradictory guidance is disappointing to say the least for these rural small businesses and holidaymakers alike – not to mention the rural economies they support with each visitor spending £36-46 per day off site.”