South Shields beach chalets booked out for April as visitors return to South Tyneside following rule changes
Holiday park operators in South Tyneside are beginning to welcome back visitors for seaside breaks, with one business saying its beach chalets are fully booked ahead of the coming weekend.
The owners of the Sandhaven Beach Chalets business near the South Promenade said visitors were undeterred by the spell of cold weather, which has seen daytime temperatures sit just above freezing at certain points during the past week.
Both the Sandhaven Holiday Park caravan site and Sandhaven Beach Chalets confirmed that their accommodation had reopened as of Monday, April 12, in line with the roadmap’s further easing of lockdown restrictions.
Despite the commercial challenges posed by the past 13 months, Hebburn woman Carleigh McCleod, who co-manages the beach chalet business, says hopes of a busy summer period have been raised by a steady stream of bookings since the announcement of the Government’s lockdown exit roadmap.
“Some of the bookings have been in for a while now,” she told The Gazette.
"Once the reopening date was confirmed for April 12, a lot more started to come in - there have been a few last-minute ones as well.
"The phones have been ringing quite a lot – we’ve been getting plenty of messages. We’ve still got quite a lot of availability from May.”
With overseas travel still banned and a return of holidays abroad looking uncertain amid fears over covid variants, businesses in the UK’s tourism sector are expecting households to consider more British-based holidays in the 2021 spring and summer season.
Although unsure about the degree to which the borough will benefit from the ‘staycation boom’ predicted this summer, signs of demand from outside areas are there with one Sandhaven visitor this week having travelled from Wales.
"We’ve just had four families checking in today and everything seems to have gone smoothly,” she also said.
"It’s good that things haven’t gone from nothing to madness on the first day – it helps us to ease back in and sort out any issues or faults that may occur.
"It’s been a bit of a mix so far in terms of the people coming. One of the guests who arrived today has come from Wales. There’s a lot of interest from people in County Durham.
"So it’s very varied. We have a lot of regular guests who come back every year, who love visiting South Shields – and this is as close as you’re going to get to the beach.”
The easing of restrictions from April 12 allow for only self-catering accommodation.
The guidance reads: “Self-contained accommodation such as campsites and holiday lets, where indoor facilities are not shared with other households, can reopen.”