Camping and Caravanning Club clarifies its position on reopening campsites
The Camping and Caravanning Club closed its entire campsite network on Sunday 22 March and all 103 sites are still closed, as well as all the Club's Certificated Sites. Now it is preparing to reopen some of them.
The Camping and Caravanning Club said it is now working towards potentially reopening campsites in England from July 4. It is also working towards the provisional opening dates of July 15 for Scotland.Provisionally Northern Ireland campsites and caravan sites are now scheduled to reopen from June 26, before the proposed reopening date for campsites in England. It said it is awaiting notification on when campsites in Wales will reopen.
Currently the Club is planning to open the majority of its campsites, including as many as possible with toilet block facilities. However it said the opening of toilet and shower facilities will only happen if it is allowed tby the relevant governments. Some campsites however, will open without toilets and showers.
Cleaning regimes will be increased and, where facility blocks are open, there will be two deep cleans a day and four supplementary cleans.
The Club confirmed that it is likely that 26 of its campsites will remain closed for the rest of the season.
The Camping and Caravanning Club's new measures for safer campsites
- Contactless check in – this will be facilitated by Auto Balance Collect. The balance of any money due for a camper's stay will be taken automatically from the account on the morning of arrival. Vehicle registration details will be taken when a booking is made. When campers arrive on site, they can remain inside their vehicle and a member of the Club's campsite staff will welcome them and show them to their allocated pitch
- Sensible social distancing – the Club's pitches have six-metre spacing and the number of people on a site with facility blocks will be reduced to help manage demand
- There will be signs and floor markings as a reminder to keep two metres from other people
- Where facility blocks are open there will be guidance on how many people the block can accommodate at one time. Campers will also be able to pitch their own toilet tent on their allocated pitch
- On campsites where facility blocks are open, the Club is asking that, if people are able to use their own facilities in their motorhome, campervan or caravan, they do so as much as possible
- Only individual bookings are allowed and large groups will be prevented from assembling
- Campers will not be able to have any day visitors to their pitches
- Washing-up areas will remain open, but communal areas such as receptions, shops, laundries and play areas will remain closed. Campers need to ensure they bring all their essentials with them, including gas
- Service points will be open and campers must follow hand-washing guidance, plus campers are being asked to bring their own supplies of soap and hand sanitiser
- The Club will not be opening its Ready Camp Safari Tents, Pods or Self-Catering units this season.
While the campsites have been closed, the Club:
- Advised its members that it will move or fully refund bookings while the campsites are closed
- Extended membership for as long as the campsites are closed
- Ensured any future bookings made while its campsites are closed are fully flexible
- Extended its booking window to 18 months for its members.
Sabina Voysey, Director General of The Camping and Caravanning Club, said: "All of us at the Club can’t wait for the day when we’re able to welcome people back to our campsites. We think that spending time in the great outdoors at places such as campsites will be just the break people need after spending so much time at home.
"Being out in the fresh air, the physical space between pitches and with additional social distancing and cleaning measures, we believe that we are well-placed to offer a safe, enjoyable break. Re-opening our campsites will allow many families to actually get a holiday this year and have a fantastic time exploring closer to home.
"The UK tourism sector desperately needs some semblance of a summer season to help businesses start to recover. We’ve lost £25-million during our closure period and even as a large organisation it’s been a hugely testing time. There are many small and family-owned businesses that desperately need tourists to visit along with independent campsite and holiday park operators that need to be open to survive.
"Of course, we will only open when it’s safe to do so – the safety of our staff and campers has been our top priority from the start. We’ve been working with various industry bodies and have fed in our recommendations to government as to how we believe we can operate safely – we’re really hopeful the sector will get some clear operational guidance so campers can return with confidence.
"Opening up a campsite network like ours is logistically complex, it takes time and we’ve been doing a lot of work operationally to make sure we’re ready. We’ve had to make the best plan that we can for this moment in time; what sites we’re going to open, if we can open facility blocks, when we can bring staff back, new ways of managing sites and processes to follow. We’re legally shut, and the earliest we could possibly open in England is from the 4th July but with other areas of the economy opening back up we really need a steer from the UK and devolved governments – getting confirmed opening dates and official guidance for each nation is becoming critical.
"We already know that camping will be a popular choice; when we surveyed our Club members, 85 per cent stated they had either made a booking or planned to.
"We believe people cannot wait to have a holiday. We’ve made our bookings fully flexible and refundable and we’ve seen that people are prepared to take a chance on making a booking in the hope that we’ll be open. We’ve also seen lots of new members join the club which is fantastic – we hope that a whole new group of people will discover how great a holiday in a tent, caravan, campervan or motorhome can be.
"After three months of very little income, we’ve now seen a huge boost in sales and bookings over the past few weeks. Sales over the past three weeks are up 70 per cent compared to this time last year. July and August are proving popular months and sales are already ahead of last year. We’ve seen our biggest single sales day in 10 years and last week was our strongest ever week of bookings. Only 2 per cent of our members surveyed wouldn’t consider a camping holiday because of Covid-related reasons.
"The Club has a long history of working well with local communities and of our members supporting local economies. Some people will be understandably apprehensive about the potential impact of the return of visitors to their areas. We are asking our campers to follow social distancing guidelines on and off the site, and to show consideration to local residents’ feelings – we believe our members’ thoughtfulness will help reassure any concerns residents may have.
"Of course, we will only re-open when the Government tells us it is safe and we’re legally able to do so, but as an organisation we are ready and we know our members want to camp. With more than 100 years’ experience we believe we can operate responsibly and after 3 long months of closure we can’t wait to welcome campers back."