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NCC Press Release - 19th June 2020

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19th June 2020 
 

The National Caravan Council says caravan industry desperate for an opening date for England’s parks, as time runs out to help businesses and ‘save the great English caravan holiday’


⦁    Wales opens its parks from 6 July; Northern Ireland rom 26 June; Scotland from 15 July …

England - ‘we are still waiting’


⦁    Businesses in supply chain close to collapse.


The National Caravan Council (NCC), the trade association that represents the UK caravan industry, is asking why Government is delaying confirmation that caravan parks can re-open on 4 July. 


“This dithering is presenting unnecessary additional risks for the sector,” NCC Director General, John Lally comments.  The Government needs to provide certainty so the English caravan park sector can get back to what it does best – grow local economies, and support jobs and wellbeing, by providing opportunities for people to benefit from the outdoors. 


“For over two months, we have been arguing it is totally inappropriate for government to link caravan parks with hotels, hostels and B&Bs.  It is illogical that the two million people who own caravans and motorhomes are denied the opportunity to stay overnight in their safe self-contained accommodation.  Caravans, motorhomes and lodges are socially distanced by design!


“Today Wales followed Scotland and Northern Ireland by confirming an opening date. The NCC fully supports the Government’s decisions to protect the health of our nation, but we have just heard that the coronavirus alert level has been downgraded from four to three.  


“So, we continue to argue to Government that a ‘one size fits all’ approach to hospitality and tourism opening could damage our industry - and have unintended consequences.  The majority of caravan parks are family businesses struggling to cope and survive during closure.  In turn, caravan manufacturing has found itself with no orders for over two months. Too much of the holiday and selling season has already been lost.


“The ability of many related businesses – manufacturing, dealerships and suppliers – to recover hangs by a thread.  While there has been a recent spike in interest in caravans and motorhomes, potential buyers are questioning why they should commit to a purchase when England’s parks remain closed. 


“Please recognise that the caravan sector is unique, with 95% of leisure vehicles privately owned. Time is running out to save the great English caravan holiday!”


Ends

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The National Caravan Council says caravan industry desperate for an opening date for England's parks, as time runs out to help businesses and 'save the great English caravan holiday

 

The National Caravan Council (which is the UK trade body for the motorhome, caravan holiday home and residential park home industry) is urging the government to allow caravan parks in England to reopen, as they are deemed the safest way to holiday in the current climate. Despite the fact that the NCC has issued robust safety measures to its members, they still do not have a date from the government to reopen in England.

 

Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland all now have dates to reopen, but England is still waiting, putting the industry at great risk.

 

According to research from UKCCA, the period from April to June is usually the second highest quarter in terms of occupancy levels on parks; but because they were ordered to shut, sales and bed nights on caravan parks were virtually zero in this period.  Unlike many other tourism and hospitality businesses, caravan parks and dealerships business are highly seasonal.  The final quarter of the year (October to December) sees occupancy levels drop to an average of just 24% so reopening asap is of huge importance to the industry.

 

Unlike hotels, there are no safety issues with shared facilities or accommodation at caravan parks, as the units are self-contained and 95% are privately owned. Caravans and motorhomes are ‘socially distanced by design’ and rules on parks mean that caravans must be 5 or 6 metres apart.  The vast majority of caravans have their own cooking and washing facilities, providing the safest form of holidaying possible at the moment.

 

The National Caravan Council (NCC) has reported a huge spike in interest in tourers and motorhomes since dealerships re-opened on 1st June 2020. In a recent survey conducted by the NCC 70% of UK adults said they perceive a holiday caravan-based UK break as an acceptable activity post-lockdown. Motorhoming did even better, with 77%, indicating it as an appealing option. 

 

This interest is fast turning into sales and with this in mind ask the government to strike while the iron is hot and confirm a date for parks to reopen.

 

British caravan and motorhome manufacturer, Swift Group, has reported significant increases in traffic to its website. Swift Group’s web traffic has increased over 40% since 10th May compared to the two weeks prior, with growth driven by a younger audience between 18 to 44 years old, whose visits to the site are up by nearly 50%. 

 

Bailey of Bristol has recorded the most sales ever in any one week since its dealerships re-opened on 1st June and Auto Trader says that in the second half of May, users on the caravan and motorhome sections of its website were up by 17% versus the same time last year. 

 

NCC Director of Marketing, Jenny Summers, says: “It is clear that there is pent up demand from regular motorhome and caravan holidayers, but also from a new generation who are looking for a socially distanced UK holiday option. The benefits of a caravan or motorhome holiday include the security of being self-contained in your own accommodation with your own facilities, and infinite access to the beautiful UK countryside. Caravans and motorhomes offer one of the safest holiday options for those looking to get out around the UK this year."

 

"We are seeing a really promising trend emerging, which after a hard-few months for the industry, is welcome news to the UK caravan and motorhome business. However, we still do not have a date from the UK government for when caravan parks in England can reopen, despite preparations being well underway by the park owners and protocols being implemented. We have issued our own guidance to holiday and touring parks to ensure strict social distancing and hygiene protocols are in place for when visitors with holiday caravans, motorhomes and touring caravans can return to parks." 

 

"It is vital that the government gives us clarity on a date for us to work towards and consumers to begin to book their trips.”  

 

The NCC is working with other trader bodies, parks and government bodies to create best practice guidance to be implemented across the UK. Robust safety protocols will include the closure of facilities on the parks and rigorous cleaning as well as contactless arrivals to the sites.

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National Caravan Council’s statement following today’s announcement:

23rd June 2020 

 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that from Saturday 4 July, people can now “enjoy staycations in England with the reopening of accommodation sites”.  This is understood to include caravan parks and campsites – although all businesses need to adhere to COVID Secure guidelines.

 

The National Caravan Council (NCC) Director General, John Lally, commented: “This is great news for the 2+ million caravan owners and for the parks industry in England - and not a moment too soon."

 

We have been working hard to explain to Government that caravan products are ‘socially distanced by design’ and that the parks industry across the UK can be safe places for people to holiday.  Not only are caravans required to be 6m apart, but caravan parks are big open spaces, the ideal base for hard working families to enjoy the great outdoors."

 

Parks already are working on safety protocols to keep their staff and visitors safe.  So we are delighted that the great British caravan holiday can recommence in less than two weeks time!” 

 

ENDS

 

23rd June 2020 15:35hrs

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