Staycations are expected to boom in 2021 after lockdown ends, UK holiday firms have said.
Bosses at the Caravan and Motorhome Club said the lifting of restrictions would be like "a cork popping from a bottle". Director general Nick Lomas said although coronavirus had hit the industry hard, they were optimistic about the coming season. Other firms said they also expected more people to holiday in the UK.
Mr Lomas said: "2020 was a very difficult year for the tourism and hospitality sector and the Caravan and Motorhome Club had suffered significant financial losses." He did, however, add: "When our campsites were allowed to be open last year we actually saw record levels of bookings, with new memberships up by 14%. Sadly, this surge does not make up for the losses we suffered during nearly six months of lockdown."
But, despite the current restrictions, Mr Lomas said he had every reason to believe this year could finish as one of "the best and busiest yet", due to the appetite for outdoor UK holidays. "In fact, we think that 2021 is going to be like a cork popping from a bottle," he said.
Experience Freedom, which operates glamping holidays in the UK, said bookings for 2021 were already up as people looked to spend more time in the "great outdoors". Smaller operators such as Anne's Vans, based in Lincoln, are also expecting to benefit.
Owner Anne Davies said so far they had no bookings, saying "uncertainty over when lockdown will end" was putting people off at the moment. However, she said: "Based on last years’ experience we are expecting a bumper year in 2021... once this latest lockdown is over."
The chief executive of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, David Butterworth, said visitor numbers after the first lockdown ended were "unprecedented". He added: "The challenge for 2021 is to capitalise on this trend, and capture the hearts and minds of the people who have experienced the Dales for the first time to make sure they keep coming back."