A Staffordshire motorhome dealer is seeing a surge in sales as families across the UK prepare to embrace staycations in 2021.
Bosses at Erwin Hymer Centre Travelworld, which is based in Stafford, say sales in January – which were completed either online or over the phone – hit near record levels, despite the company’s Valley Drive showroom being closed to customers.
The company reported a 15 per cent increase in sales compared to January 2020 which is ‘far in excess’ of expectations.
Travelworld – which exclusively sells German brands – has also seen a dramatic rise in the number of first-time buyers of motorhomes and a younger demographic moving into the market.
Managing director Ross Edwards said: “We sold 38 motorhomes in January without being able to open our doors to customers, which is quite incredible. February, too, has started buoyantly.
“Other than in 2017 when we sold 42 but had very favourable trading conditions, this year’s figure is far in excess of what we would expect to sell in the first month of a new year.
“It is 15 per cent higher than in January 2020 when we were trading normally.
“The demand has been astonishing and it shows no signs of slowing down. It’s a clear sign that we are looking at a real boom in staycations, potentially for many years to come.
“With the issues with travelling abroad, which could be in place for some time, people are clearly looking at domestic holidays and, for many, the idea of having their own motorhome to embark on new adventures and create memories is extremely appealing.
“We are seeing a much younger audience buying motorhomes and campervans. They probably had a long-term interest in purchasing a motorhome, but the events of the last 12 months have accelerated their buying process, possibly by as much as 10 or 20 years.”
The national lockdown in place across the UK means holidays are currently banned, but thousands of families still live in hope that they will be able to book a break away – either in the UK or abroad – when Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.
But transport secretary Grant Shapps has warned that it is ‘too soon’ to book a holiday.
The StokeonTrentLive Business Awards are back for 2021 to celebrate the great and good of the business community from across Staffordshire and parts of South Cheshire.
There are 13 categories up for grabs including Young Professional, Growth and International Trade as well as the coveted Business of the Year award.
The awards are being held in association with Staffordshire University which is the headline sponsor and the Science and Technology category sponsor.
The event will be held virtually on Thursday, April 22, 2021 and will celebrate the great and good of the business community from across Staffordshire and parts of South Cheshire.
The deadline for entries is Tuesday, March 2, 2021.
He told Radio 4’s Today programme: “People shouldn’t be booking holidays right now – not domestically or internationally.”
He added: “The Prime Minister will say more about the route to unlocking this country, starting when he speaks about it on February 22.
“But we don’t know yet whether that will include information on things like holidays, simply because we don’t know where we’ll be up to in terms of the decline in cases, deaths, vaccination.
“And not just the vaccination programme here, but the vaccination programme internationally, because people will be going outside of our borders. So it’s too soon.”
But Ross believes the pandemic could have notable long-term benefits for the tourism and leisure industry across the UK.
He said: “It’s clear that an audience which has traditionally gone abroad regularly for holidays is now looking closer to home and seeing a huge potential for staycations. It could provide a real boost for our UK tourism industry.
“When they investigate, people are pleasantly surprised by the quality and quantity of the UK’s attractions and beauty spots and they are excited to travel to different destinations when the regulations allow. There is no better way to do that than in a motorhome.”