Brexit makes campsites cool again as Britons tighten belts

Fri Apr 21, 2017 5:36am EDT
 
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By Kate Holton and William Schomberg

NEWTON FERRERS, England/LONDON (Reuters) - Before last year's Brexit vote, Scott McCready was struggling to fill his holiday cabins on the coast of southwest England. Now the site is fully booked with British tourists avoiding more expensive foreign trips following a plunge in the pound.

This turnaround in the 10 months since Britons decided to leave the European Union reflects a jump in demand for "staycations", with British consumers seeking ways to make their money go further as rising inflation squeezes their incomes.

McCready, who gave up a job in IT to build his site between ancient woodlands and a creek in the county of Devon, recalled the hectic days after last June's referendum.

"My phone just took off," he told Reuters. "It was like someone flicked a switch. We were booked out for the rest of the summer and now this year we're having to turn people away."

The reason why Britons and some Europeans have flocked to his 24 wooden lodges in Newton Ferrers, once a quiet fishing village 370 km (230 miles) from London, is straightforward.

The referendum result caught financial markets off guard, sending the pound down about 20 percent against the dollar and 16 percent against the euro at one point. That rapidly pushed up the cost of holidays to the United States and continental Europe, both popular destinations for Britons.

Since then, sterling has recovered some of its losses but remains down about 14 percent against the dollar and 8 percent against the euro.

So about 15 km away, Chris Duff is enjoying a similar jump in demand at his 90-lodge Thatches park, where he is investing to upgrade facilities which include a swimming pool and a fitness suite. "If we could, we would like to expand," he said.   Continued...

 
A union jack flutters as locals play by the harbour in Newton Ferrers, Devon, Britain April 12, 2017. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez