As recession-hit families ditch overseas holidays in favour of traditional British destinations, campsites in the Dales are experiencing a surge in bookings and first-time campers.
According to the National Caravan Council (NCC), the industry has seen a 14 per cent surge in advance bookings compared to the same time last year – an increase which is likely to contribute nearly £6 billion to the UK economy this year.
But while campsite owners in the Dales welcome the new ‘stay-cation’ trend, the resounding message is that, in recession or boom, if the weather is bad – campsites bookings will suffer.
Nick Lomas, owner of Middlehills Campsite, Matlock, said: “We have definitely had more bookings since the recession started and there’s been a lot more ‘virgin’ campers visiting us too.
“But the recent bad weather ruined what should have been a busy Easter weekend and we are still closed. So it just goes to show that the weather makes or breaks our industry.”
Susan Haynes, who runs the Packhorse Farm campsite, Matlock, with her husband Byron, explained that when the weather is good her campsite – and indeed many in the Dales – do extremely well, but in bad conditions it’s very “hit-and miss”.
“We definitely welcome the news that campsites are experiencing increased bookings. But I’d say the biggest factor, for us anyway, is the weather,” said Susan.
A spokesman for the National Caravan Council, explained how the increase in popularity is prompting the sector to “take charge to professionalise” the industry.
They added that the boom is likely to create more jobs – especially among young people .