Holiday parks, campsites are expecting last-minute surge in summer bookings
Coronavirus is likely to put holidays abroad on hold and boost stay-at-home breaks, with holiday parks, hotels and even campsites hoping for a surge in bookings.
Many people whose holidays in the south of Europe are likely to be cancelled are looking into holidaying in the Netherlands, Baptiste van Outryve, from Roompot holiday parks, told the Volkskrant on Friday
‘We are seeing a lot of people exploring possibilities, people who have booked a holiday abroad and have never before holidayed with us. They are not booking en masse yet but there is definitely an interest,’ Van Outryve said.
The May holidays are about to start but many holiday parks are closed altogether, some because of a local council directive or because park owners themselves made the decision.
‘The prime minister has called on people not to go on holiday and many people have taken that advice on board,’ Europarcs spokesman Joeri van Duuren said.
EuroParcs, which is open for business, has not yet seen a surge in reservations. ‘Normally the parks would be full during the May holidays and the weather we’re having but only a quarter of the cottages have been let,’ he said.
The exception to the rule is Natuurhuisje.nl, a platform for holiday lets in isolated places. ‘We are really busy,’ the platform’s founders Tim van Oerle said. ‘We have twice as many bookings for the May holidays compared to last year.’
Many campsites will miss out on the upcoming break as they will not be open until at least May 20. Only campsites which can offer guests separate washing and toilet facilities are allowed to operate. They too are seeing an increase in bookings, for instance in Drenthe, which is traditionally a popular Dutch holiday spot.
The fact that much is still uncertain about summer holiday destinations abroad could also boost the much affected Dutch tourism sector, particularly if measures are to be gradually relaxed.
Much will depend on when this will happen. It won’t be much fun if the pools and bars are closed, Van Duuren said, and people will hope until the last minute that their booked holidays can still go ahead.
‘People who have booked for July or August have not received a final cancellation. But they will and then everyone will want to find something in the Netherlands. We are hoping for an incredibly busy summer,’ he told the paper.
Hotels too are tentatively opening for business again, with the Fletcher Hotel group, for example, advertising that several of its seaside hotels have been reconfigured to meet social distancing rules.
‘At the moment, no-one knows when they will get the space and freedom to go abroad,’ a spokesman for the travel agency association ANVR told RTL Nieuws. ‘It is not only important what is happening in the Netherlands. Even if the rules are relaxed here, that does not mean you can travel where you want.’
Government officials are currently examining a series of protocols drawn up by the Dutch association of water sports and recreation companies in an effort to ensure people can have a safe holiday in the Netherlands.
A spokesman told RTL Nieuws there are sufficient options to enjoy a break in the Netherlands itself. ‘As far as we are concerned, everyone can enjoy a holiday here, as long as they adapt to the 1.5 metre economy.’
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