Easter bookings boom at budget UK holiday parks as airport chaos continues

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amilies have turned to Easter staycations amid chaotic scenes of cancelled flights and long queues at major airports, travel experts have said.

Budget holiday operators said they are seeing strong demand as families decide to stay at home rather than brave disruption to journey plans abroad.

Haven, which has 41 holiday parks in the UK, is already more than 90 per cent booked for Easter, with nearly half of its 2.5million visitors booking for the first time this year.

Meanwhile Parkdean Resorts, which has 66 parks, has needed to hire 7,000 seasonal workers to keep up with high levels of demand.

The managing director of Haven Simon Palenthorpe told BBC Radio 4 on Monday: “I think it has made people think a bit more about holidaying at home. More generally things are looking pretty positive for our industry at the moment.

“This Easter for example, Haven – which is actually the UK’s largest domestic holiday business – is over 90 per cent booked, and more generally this year we’re going to be welcoming 2.5million holidaymakers to our 41 parks.

“And we’re seeing more newcomers to Haven, which is I think pretty interesting, more newcomers than ever.”

Parkdean chief executive Steve Richards said his company planned on investing £140m in its accommodation and facilities in the wake of the boom.

“This investment is great news for our customers, staff and the local economies in which we operate,” he told The Daily Mail.

“2021 was a huge year for staycations, and our teams will continue to go above and beyond to deliver phenomenal service for our guests, making sure that 2022 is even better.”

It comes as tourists faced a ‘manic Monday’ of flight cancellations, scuppering Easter plans for many ahead of the bank holiday weekend.

British Airways axed at least 64 European and domestic flights from Heathrow on Monday to destinations such as Berlin, Dublin, Geneva, Paris, and Stockholm. Domestic flights were also affected.

The airline has been forced to trim its schedules until the end of May while it is hiring extra staff to cope with the surge in demand from passengers.

Meanwhile, budget carrier EasyJet cancelled at least 25 flights to or from Gatwick.

It affected routes to Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Glasgow and Milan.