'Surge' in Easton Farm Park campsite bookings due to staycations
- Credit: Pitchup.com
A farm says says a "surge" in campsite bookings from a growing staycation holidays trend could help it to bounce back after the coronavirus crisis.
Easton Farm Park, near Woodbridge, had to close for several months last year and was forced to furlough staff.
“We have taken a huge hit, having lost 40% of our annual income, so it will take at least one to two years to return to where we were in early March,” owner Fiona Siddall admitted in June.
She also planned to expand the park with a low ropes course – an assault course-style adventure activity on elevated platforms over water – but this was rejected by East Suffolk Council’s planning committee in October.
However, government rules allowed farmers to operate campsites for 56 days without planning permission in 2020 - a move that has been extended to 2021.
Easton Farm Park had already expanded its campsite to include 70 pitches. It had also invested in a shower block and family room.
“When we went into lockdown, the farm attraction had to close and we needed to find a new income stream," Ms Siddall said.
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“So, when restrictions began to ease in May, I was determined not to lose the summer.
“Pitchup.com worked closely with us to help us negotiate the Covid pandemic and get customer numbers up for allowed opening dates.
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“They also helped us manage cancellations and postponements which arose due to lockdown, which was a huge relief.
“We’ve had a surge of bookings for 2021, with key dates such as the May bank holiday already booked up.
“Pitchup has been the material difference in filling the campsite and that has had a huge impact on offsetting some of the revenue we lost from having to close the farm attraction.
“They’ve been supportive and responsive, and really helped us negotiate the pandemic.”
Easton Farm Park will also return, the day after outdoor attractions open in England, on Tuesday, April 13.