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The EU sandwich-free zone, online shows, UK tourism, and caravan sales

It is a strangely uncertain time for caravan-owners and prospective owners wondering when it will be possible to start touring again.

On the heels of successive lockdowns and travel restrictions, many caravan sites have closed, and their reopening depends very much on what happens in response to the pandemic. The Camping and Caravanning Club, for example, will review whether to reopen its sites with effect from the 15th of February.

News headlines reflect this mixture of caution and optimism.

Eat your sandwiches before you enter the EU!

On the 13th of January, Practical Caravan reported one of the largely unexpected inconveniences of the UK’s completion of Brexit with effect from the 1st of January.

With the UK now regarded as a third country, customs agents at European ports of entry are taking a hard line on the prohibition of imports of meat and dairy products. They have already confiscated the cheeses and ham sandwiches – bread and all – of some drivers.

Beware that your carefully packed lunch of sandwiches, maybe a pork pie, a hunk or two of cheese, and the milk for your tea could fall foul of the EU’s rules. On the other hand, you might breathe a sigh of relief in the knowledge that fish and shellfish such as lobsters, prawns, oysters, and dead mussels can be safely packed in your lunch box (up to set limits).

The new season kicks off with three online shows

One of the many casualties of the current pandemic has been the cancellation of the ever-popular Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show – it is typically held at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) near Birmingham roundabout this time of year.

To make up for the loss, the Camping and Caravanning Club announced that it will be hosting a special online “Friendly Club” from the 23rd to the 28th of February, featuring a virtual exhibition which will also be broadcast on the Club’s website and on its Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram channels.

The Club is also lending its support to two further virtual events: an online exhibition – Swift Live – during February of caravans manufactured by the Swift Group; and the virtual show put on by the Scottish Caravan, Motorhome & Holiday Home Show on the 27th and 28th of February.

Great year ahead predicted for UK tourism

A bright silver lining to the black clouds that hung over the pandemic-stricken year has been the surge in UK staycations – and at least one leisure company, Salop Leisure, is predicting even greater demand during the course of 2021, according to a story in Business News Wales last month.

The award-winning company runs several resorts and caravan sites as well as main dealerships for caravans and motorhomes.

Its main sphere of operations is Mid-Wales – a part of the country that has proved especially popular with staycationing caravanners and a further bumper year is predicted now that coronavirus vaccines are eventually being rolled out.

Sales of motorhomes, caravans and campervans boom globally

That forecast for a further bumper year for staycationing caravanners was echoed by the Caravan Times on the 25th of January.

That article goes one step further, however, in arguing that it is not just the UK that is seeing an upsurge in domestic holidaymaking. As borders have shut and travel corridors have been blockaded people in Europe, the United States, and Australia have all taken to their caravans, motorhomes, and campervans in search of holidays closer to home.

In Germany alone, for example, 2020 saw a staggering 80,000 increase in the number of new registrations for motorhomes, according to the German Caravanning Industry Association (CIVD).