As the Whitsun holiday approaches, the trade association for the UK caravan industry, the NCC (National Caravan Council) is reporting a surge in bookings to caravan parks.
After a difficult six months, sales of touring caravans are also beginning to rise again, with manufacturers in Bristol and the Hull area upping production to meet demand.
The most popular destination for caravanners is the south west of England. The Camping and Caravanning Club says advanced bookings for its sites in the area are up by 26 per cent. Similarly, Hoburne Ltd, operator of seven parks in the south/south west reports a rise in forward bookings of around 25 per cent.
Bookings for caravan parks across the country have been healthy since early spring, both for caravan holiday home rentals and for touring pitches. Some parks achieved occupancy levels of nearly 100 per cent over Easter. The NCC attributes this to the rise of the stay-cationer - or rather 'UKationer'.
"Holidaymakers are searching for really good value this year, and they are re-assured by the fact that with a caravan in the UK, they can control expenditure and avoid the costly Euro-zone," asserts the NCC's Director General, John Lally. "A hot summer, which the Met Office is now predicting, would be the icing on the cake for our industry."
"We are also hearing that spend is up in parks," Lally said. "This is good news for the many local businesses - from shops, pubs and attractions to post offices and petrol stations - that rely on the tourist pound that a caravanner brings."
There is evidence both that new people are being attracted to caravanning and that those who already own caravans are using them more. Sales of pre-owned caravans are booming - so much so that dealers are reporting a shortage in some price brackets. This bodes well for the creation of new jobs in manufacturing and in parks.
Caravanning is worth approximately £6 billion to the UK economy and employs 90,000 people. The NCC estimates that some two million additional caravan holidays could be taken in the UK this year and up to 1,000 new jobs created in parks.
. The NCC is a not-for-profit organisation that represents caravan, motorhome, caravan holiday home and park home businesses in the UK. It represents approximately 800 outlets.
. Caravanning is worth approximately £6 billion to the UK economy - c. £2 billion in holiday spend and £4 billion in sales of new and used product and accessories. More than 95 per cent of touring caravans on UK roads are manufactured in the UK.
. Manufacturers who have announced increases in production levels include Bailey, Swift and Coachman.
. The Camping and Caravanning Club and The Caravan Club have both reported that bookings to their sites are up significantly. Park operators Parkdean Holidays achieved 99 per cent occupancy levels in its parks over Easter .
. The NCC estimates that if the increase in bookings continues, the number of caravan holidays taken in the UK could rise to above 13.75 million for 2009.
. For every five extra pitches filled for the season, a new job is potentially created.
1. NCC member statistics
2. Mintel Camping and Caravanning Leisure Intelligence
3. VisitBritain's UK Tourism Survey (UKTS 2007): 11.4 million holidays were taken in various types of caravan; 4.7 million trips were made in touring caravans and 6.7 million trips to caravan holiday homes (owned and rented).
Press contact: Louise Wood, NCC Director of Communications, tel: 01252 796064, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, mobile: 07887 562333
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