Don't miss a story sign up to the North Devon Gazette's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

Bright outlook for summer after busy Easter holiday bookings

07:30 28 April 2014

Visitors packed onto Woolacombe Beach yesterday afternoon (Tues).

Visitors packed onto Woolacombe Beach yesterday afternoon (Tues).


Holiday parks across North Devon reported a slow start to the season but a sudden surge in bookings over Easter weekend.

HOLIDAY parks in North Devon have reported a bright outlook for the summer season with some saying they have had the ‘best Easter ever’.

The warm weather, the later Easter date and a more positive economic outlook were just some of the reasons for the influx of bookings, according to local parks.

Kevin Darvill, sales and marketing director at Woolacombe Bay Holiday Parks, said bookings had been up 12 per cent on last year and it was the best Easter yet.

“The rest of the season is looking generally pretty good,” he said.

“May half term has seen its rate of sale drop a little over the past few weeks, which is concerning because it is quite close now, but this is an effect of the later Easter bank holiday, perhaps with some guests bringing their holiday plans forward to Easter and some not thinking about May half term until after Easter has finished.

“June is currently 18 per cent up and the main summer school holidays are 28 per cent up on this time last year, although we were completely filled in summer last year so we’re just looking like we’ll sell out earlier.”

Europa Park in Woolacombe also had a rise in visitors – with 40 per cent more bookings over Easter than last year.

Emma Wallace, duty manager at Europa: “Our advance bookings are also looking good for this coming summer with us reporting over a 30 per cent increase on last year.

“We have also recognised a trend of more money being spent per person whilst at the park this weekend compared to previous years.”

The park was featured on a BBC3 series earlier this year and Emma said bookings, especially over weekends, had picked up since.

“It’s hard to know if this is because of the recent good weather which has coincided with the programme,” she added.

North Devon + reported a 20 per cent rise in traffic to in the week running up to the Bank Holiday.

However, it said bookings up to Easter were 23 per cent down across the county due to the weather coverage, ‘costing Devon around £31million’.

Holiday park owner John Fowler said bookings for the Easter season had initially been slow, but picked up at the last minute.

“The television kept showing scenes of the railway line devastation in Dawlish and people thought we were completely cut off,” he said.

“But that was only the railway. As soon as the television reported it was repaired, bookings rose straight away.”

Meanwhile, The Big Sheep and Atlantis Adventure Park in Bideford saw record visitor numbers over the Easter break, with a 28 per cent increase on footfall from previous years.

Director Rick Turner said: “Easter is the first barometer for the tourism year and this one has been an excellent one all round.

“With numbers beating last year’s record, if we can get some warmer and sunnier weather then there is no reason why we should not expect an increase in numbers during the summer.”

And McDonald’s stores in Barnstaple reported a seven per cent rise in sales compared to last year and will be recruiting 30 new staff for the summer.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other North Devon Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by North Devon Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique North Devon Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Other News Stories


Online discount tickets on sale for now Round Table rugby club display

Read more

Mark Saunders have completed 3,500 mile journey for the See Hear Centre in Barnstaple

Read more

Market manager says improvements will make the Grade 1 listed building ‘fit for the next 50 years’.

Read more

With Barnstaple & District Cats Protection

Read more
Yesterday, 17:41

Will you be joining the big march through the centre of Barnstaple tomorrow (Saturday) to show your support for North Devon’s hospital services?

Read more
Yesterday, 15:19

The incident was reported at 2.40 this afternoon (Friday).

Read more
Yesterday, 11:33

Authorities set to investigate a pit that has opened up on a popular riverside walk

Read more
Yesterday, 10:57

County’s schools are ‘high performing’ but among worst funded in the country

Read more
Yesterday, 10:30

Elliott Gallery founder looks back on nine decades and ahead to the Braunton gallery reopening again

Read more
Thu, 20:02

Temporary winter closure for maintenance work, but trustees are also looking ahead to possible extension plans

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 11°C

min temp: 7°C

Most Read News

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
North Devon Football League
Order Photos
Family notices
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Read the North Devon Gazette e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up


Show Job Lists

Local business directory

North Devon's trusted business finder

Find planning applications