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Holiday and caravan parks have experienced a surge in popularity this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Many Britons have felt safer heading to local holiday spots rather than travelling overseas. Some destinations such as Spain, Portugal and Greece have still remained popular, but British holiday parks in some of the UK’s most sought-after destinations have been inundated with tourists.
Express.co.uk spoke to CEO of the UK’s leading provider of luxury holiday homes Park Leisure.
The company’s CEO Richard Bates has over 30 years of industry experience which includes 16 years at Haven Holidays.
Park Leisure has reported a staggering 47 percent year-on-year increase in holiday home sales this summer across its 11 destinations in Cornwall, Northumberland, North Wales, Yorkshire and Herefordshire.
Bates spoke exclusively to Express.co.uk about the company’s safety measures and why holiday parks are legally safe.
“We’re part of the tourism scheme for being covid-friendly. Our team are trained. We are very used to it now,” Bates explained.
He added: “It’s almost become second-nature using hand-sanitisers and masks.”
Like many businesses within the travel sector, Park Leisure has found new ways to ensure that their customers are comfortable.
For Park Leisure, this has meant doing most of their work virtually, especially for those wishing to purchase holiday homes.
“Not only are we building a relationship, but we’re establishing how people feel about the virus,” Bates explained.
He added that when people have viewed the park virtually before they arrive, and know that social distancing and masks are being enforced, it takes away any “fears” that people could potentially have.
As well as covid health and safety measures, holiday parks have a legal obligation to ensure that there are certain spacing distances in place between holiday caravans.
Bates explained: “Caravan parks and holiday parks are distanced legally.
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“And what I mean by that is it’s illegal to have a holiday home that’s within five or six metres of someone else.
“And that’s always been the case since I’ve been in the industry.
“If you look at a typical holiday home park. The units are all spaced five to six metres.”
The legal laws were further explained by the British Holiday & Home Parks Association (BH&HPA) who told Express.co.uk that every holiday park must have a site licence.
BH&HPA explained: “By law, in addition to planning consent, every holiday and touring park must have a Site Licence issued by their local council under the caravan Acts.
“Amongst other things, the Site Licence stipulates the spacing distances between holiday caravans – 5m or 6m depending on circumstances.
“This is why holiday parks provide self-distancing by design with households in self-contained holiday accommodation, with plenty of space between them and others.”
Bates further added that a lot of holiday parks are located in parts of the UK where people can remain naturally distanced from one another.
He said: “You’re generally in an AONB surrounded by countryside, fresh air and beaches.
“It seems to me that this is a pretty good place to be in order to control contagion.”
The Park Leisure CEO explained that he could completely understand why bars, spas and swimming pools would remain closed at some holiday parks.
“But the actual environment itself – it feels to me – to be a lot less stressful than the urban environments where a lot of our customers come from”, he added.
Owner of luxury UK holiday park Lovat Parks Raoul Fraser also told Express.co.uk that holiday parks are fortunate due to the fact self-contained lodges and motorhomes have to remain five or six metres apart.
He said: “For holiday homes that are self-contained, by law they have to be five to six metres apart.”
He also explained what other measures his park has in place.
“We’ve done a lot,” he began.
“We’ve got a huge amount of PPE, we’ve got hand sanitiser stations all around our parks, we’ve trained our teams.
“We got risk assessments on all of our parks. We’ve got extra cleaning measures in place.”
But, like Park Leisure, Fraser explained that it’s fundamentally down to the environment.
“I think being outdoors in the fresh air will not only help people’s mental well-being but I think you can do it safely as well,” he said.
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