CAMPSITES in the UK have reported a 60 per cent surge in bookings this summer compared to last year as Brits choose to stay close to home for their holiday.
While popular tourist destinations abroad are trying to encourage holidaymakers to visit, families are opting for a staycation instead as a safer bet.
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Cool Camping, an online booking platform with more than 600 campsites, reported the increase in bookings compared to last May, and faced their busiest booking day ever last Sunday.
Jonathan Knight, founder and CEO of Cool Camping, said: "Booking revenues have increased 5-fold since Boris Johnson set out the phased approach to easing lockdown, compared to previous weeks, so there is clearly a pent-up demand to get away.
He added that families were "desperate" to get holidays going this year without needing to navigate airports or quarantine restrictions.
Bookings for Cornwall and Devon were the most popular, while Scotland and Wales holiday bookings remained low, Mr Knight added, due to stricter lockdown measures still in place compared to England.
The news follows confirmation from the UK government that the hospitality industry could start to reopen from July 4.
However, while some summer bookings were seen in August, many bookings were also in September – suggesting a lack of confidence in the summer season.
There is clearly a pent-up demand to get away this year
Camping websites such as Cool Camping are offering coronavirus guarantees to encourage Brits to book, with them allowing holidays to be moved 18 months in advance due to the virus.
Campsites and caravan parks have warned that missing the summer months could be devastating for the industry.
Caravan parks across England are begging Boris Johnson to be allowed to open on June 1 like they are in Wales, so they are ready for the tourist season.
The director-general of the British Holiday & Home Parks Association (BH&HPA) Ros Pritchard has written to the Prime Minister asking that the 2,000 parks represented by the association are able to open next month, not July.
Jon Boston, spokesperson for BH&HPA, added that they are also asking to be able to open later than the standard season to offer more availability to families.
He told Sun Online Travel: "Some parks close in late autumn, around October or November, and don't reopen until spring.
"Some are going to ask if they can open longer this year, which is why the association is asking for the government to support them through the winter."
Campsites will face strict new changes as well.
Haven has warned that trips this year may see closed restaurants and swimming pools, while other sites may restrict capacity.
Communal areas and bathrooms may also stay closed to reduce the risk of spreading the virus between families.
Visit Britain Acting CEO Patricia Yates is calling for Brits to be given cash to spend on holidays in the UK this summer, in order to boost ailing tourism businesses.
She told Sun Online Travel, following announcements that Italy is offering residents €500 to holiday in the country: "So we could be looking at marketing campaigns or yes, you could give money straight to people and incentivise them to holiday at home."
Brits are expected to flock to the beach and countryside this weekend with temperatures hitting 25 degrees over the bank holiday.
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