Camping Eureka hopes to open in the spring break
The operators of campsites and holiday parks are challenging their mandatory closure with the Council of State. They want to open their doors again during the spring holidays, because hotels and B & Bs have been allowed to do so for months.
‘We have already seen half of the autumn and Christmas holidays pass our noses. And now that everyone is looking for a holiday home for the spring break, we are again on the sidelines. ‘ Charlotte Deseins runs the Eureka and Bloemenduin campsites in Koksijde. But the 15 rental chalets in both domains have been empty for almost three months.
At the end of October, the Consultation Committee decided that all types of accommodation in Belgium may remain open. Only holiday parks and camping sites were obliged to close on November 3. As a result, the operators had to send their customers home in the middle of the autumn holidays.
The holiday park sector feels treated unfairly because hotels, B & Bs and individual holiday homes remained open. ‘There is little difference between us and a hotel or a holiday apartment,’ says Deseins. ‘We can meet all corona obligations with our mobile homes. The communal sanitary facilities are not open anyway. ‘ Parcifal Coeman agrees, who rents out 19 bungalows in his Holiday Village Knokke. ‘There were lockdown parties in a few Airbnb’s. But the manager of a holiday park sees everyone walking in and out. We have a lot more control. ‘
Recread, the largest federation of campsites and holiday parks in Belgium, is therefore approaching the Council of State against the mandatory closure. Recread is demanding the same opening conditions for holiday parks that rent out single bungalows, mobile homes or chalets, the federation reported Tuesday. “Due to the persistent violation of the principle of equality, more and more companies are in danger of going bankrupt,” warns spokesman Dirk Metsu.
We are not asking for any relaxation of the measures. We just want a level playing field.
The main victims of the mandatory closure are the smaller tourist holiday parks on the coast or around the art cities, which are open all year round. Major players such as Center Parcs and Roompot did not agree with Recread’s complaint. Although the Dutch Roompot, which operates a park with 63 luxury villas in Bredene, shares the same annoyance. ‘Our park is actually more of a residential area, without a swimming pool or catering facilities,’ says spokesman Baptiste van Outryve. ‘On Airbnb, Booking.com and Belvilla, 300 houses and apartments are rented out in the area, but we are not allowed to open because we are registered as a holiday park. That’s bizarre. ‘
For the campsites and holiday parks, often in family hands, the time has come for a solution. “We still have reserves for two months,” says Coeman. ‘Fortunately, we have done well in recent years.’
The holiday parks hoped that the Consultation Committee would confirm their reopening last week. But that decision was moved to next Friday (February 5). ‘There is never any mention of holiday parks’, Deseins sighs. ‘That suggests that we are not known in Brussels. We are not asking for any relaxation of the measures. We just want a level playing field. ‘
Flemish Prime Minister Jan Jambon (N-VA) gave the sector a glimmer of hope. According to him, there is a small chance that holiday parks will be able to open for the spring break. “That would be a welcome relaxation for many people,” he said last week. ‘But I speak with two words. Everything depends on how the figures evolve. ‘