By William Coleman
Every few years the caravan holiday goes through a resurgence and the industry experiences a surge in popularity. With so many global factors in place, is 2021 going to be the boom of all booms for the UK staycation?
Ever since the Brexit vote in 2016, the love for the caravan and camping holiday has grown each year. This could be because of the vote, or just pure coincidence. Whatever the reasons are for the upswing, we’re glad it’s happening.
This year saw another large issue impact the caravan holiday; yes, it’s Covid. Due to travel restrictions, anxiety and a general unease of going abroad, the masses have been flocking to sites, parks and leisure vehicle dealers across the UK.
Now that so many people have experienced just how fun and varied a staycation can be, site bookings for next year are already through the roof.
The question we’re asking is, has the combo of Brexit and Covid put the caravan market in an extremely strong position?
In the UK, the caravanning industry contributes more than £9.3 billion to holiday parks and campsites every year. It currently employs over 130,000 people across the UK and next year’s numbers may be even higher. With so many jobs being lost at the moment, this rise in employment could be just what the doctor ordered.
Has the travel industry priced itself out?
A few decades ago, it was financially unfeasible for a family of four to hop on a plane and spend a week in Spain. Then there was a period when overseas travel became an option for everyone. Fast forward to the present day and it’s once again become extremely expensive to take the kids abroad.
It seems as though the travel industry set a rod for its own back and slowly started to outprice loyal customers. Not to mention how the masses feel about the school holiday price hikes, which is daylight robbery at its finest.
Add to that the uneasy feeling of how Brexit will change the way we travel, sprinkle the events of 2020 on top and you have the perfect recipe to keep us all home for our holidays.
However, this can only be a good thing for all aspects of the UK economy, not to mention the much needed financial boost for sites and parks.
An area with a high-quality caravan park can be an extremely important part of a local financial ecosystem. We know many businesses that get continual repeat custom due to a local caravan park or resort and rely heavily on this holiday trade.
Come 2021, the world will look very different than it did from the same time a year prior. With such high demand for holidays, leisure vehicles and all manner of outdoor living equipment, it’s a safe bet that our staycation tourism industry is going to be strong.
Not only will this pump a lot more money into our own economy, it will also mean holiday abroad spend will now be kept in the UK. It was estimated back in January of this year that £27 billion of abroad spend would be kept in the UK. What will it be next year, with all the changes?
Looking at the trends online
Numbers do not lie and Google has some astonishing data showing just how popular the caravan holiday has become.
Data collected through Google search trends revealed that the topics “caravan” and “camping” have been at their highest this year. Furthermore, in July 2020, the data also showed that interest was 56 per cent higher than it was in the previous year (July 2019).
When we look at this data more closely, we can see that those who were searching online for these terms were also asking questions such as, “when will caravan parks open?” and “how are caravan parks responding to Coronavirus?”.
Alongside this, there was a huge spike in interest for queries such as, “caravan for sale”, “caravan holidays”, and “caravan insurance”.
The Future of caravanning
According to the National Caravan Council, it is estimated there are around 555,000 touring caravans, 365,000 caravan holiday homes and a further 255,000 motorhomes currently in the UK. However, with the pastime becoming a more viable and appealing option to people residing within the UK, it could be suggested this number will gradually begin to rise.
In fact, caravan accessory company, Motor Movers Direct has seen first-hand the rise in demand for the products they sell.
A spokesperson for the company, said: “Over the last few months, we have seen a rising demand for caravan and motorhome accessories, which suggests to us that there has been an even greater demand for the vehicles themselves. Many of these customers have been first-time buyers, just beginning their journey into the world of camping and caravanning.”