Economic importance of holiday park not to be under-estimated

The perception of holiday parks as Maplins-style visitor lock-ins with tannoy cries of ‘Morning campers!’ is as outdated as the 80s sitcom.

Friday, 22nd February 2019, 08:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 20th February 2019, 11:01 am
Christi Avril (centre), Haven and RNLI representatives and mascots Rory the tiger, Stormy Stan and Polly the lifeguard.

Berwick Holiday Park, part of the Haven family, provides a range of facilities and attractions for holidaying visitors and effectively promotes Berwick and Northumberland and positively encourages visitors to explore the county’s castles and coastline.

In 2018, the holiday park welcomed over 58,000 guests, supplementing the 487 owners with holiday accommodation.

Perhaps less well appreciated are the economic and social benefits that it brings to both business and the people of Berwick.

Let’s just talk numbers. In effect, the holiday park hosts the equivalent of over five Berwick’s worth of visitors with saved up holiday spend ‘on the hip’. Berwick Chamber of Trade have reported that the tourist visitor season is ‘critical’ in maintaining the town centre retail and service offer.

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With visitors looking to spend on local attractions, eating out and shopping as part of their holiday, visitor expenditure is clearly important, arguably increasing so, in maintaining town centre viability.

The holiday park is a significant employer, providing over 200 seasonal jobs every year for people from Berwick and the surrounding area. That’s over 200 pay-packets which will buy local goods and services, again supporting local retail and service outlets.

The training provided is invaluable for those looking to develop careers with a customer service focus.

In order to maintain and build on its success it continuously updates the holiday ‘offer’ investing in developments and improvements. In preparation for the visitor season, maintenance and improvement work is undertaken off-season. The holiday park has spent £350,000 in preparation for the upcoming visitor season. These works are undertaken by local contractors and trades, helping to maintain local businesses, skills and critically those local pay-packets.

The holiday park has also developed a Shop Local project, advertising local shops and offering a discount scheme available to staff, owners and visitors. The park is keen to develop this further.

David Fairclough, Berwick Holiday Park manager, said: “We simply want to encourage our team, guests and owners to spend in our town and do activities in our local community.”

Staff take pride in the quality of the park environment and undertake a number of beach cleans throughout the year. Wildlife and environmental education is delivered by the park ranger who works closely with a number of local schools.

Over £1,000 has been raised for the Grove School and last year saw the start of partnership working with the RNLI. Through a range of events including raffles, collections and craft sales the holiday park helped to raise over £7,500 for the RNLI.

David said: “We have set a target of £10,000 for 2019 and aim to deliver a number of charity events to get the local community fully involved.”