Butlins: didn’t they do well?

The term ‘staycation’ may be becoming somewhat hackneyed but the concept is real and proving to be a boost for national tourism. A number of companies are reporting a jump in profits, as recession-hit families opt to save on peak-price flights by loading up the car and holidaying closer to home.

Bourne Leisure, the owners of Butlins, Haven holiday parks and Warner Holidays has seen quite a hike in its profits, reports the Daily Mail. Paying out more than £40 million in dividends last year, compared with £27 million in 2008, its pre-tax profits have jumped 61% to £88 million, making everyone happy.

Butlins, was founded by Billy Butlin in 1936 and his holiday camps, which made him a millionaire, became synonymous with no-frills, family fun. As part of Hemel Hempstead-based Bourne Leisure, it continues to operate three resorts at Bognor Regis, Minehead and Skegness.

The company spent £79m on improvements to accommodation and entertainment facilities at its holiday homes last year and opened The Ocean Hotel in Bognor Regis at a cost of £20million. The hotel hasn’t exactly ‘gone posh’, maintaining the family fun ethos, colourful décor and rides and attractions, but it does have a spa and even a snow cave for parents who need a respite.

One of the company’s directors said not only had they received more bookings for short breaks, but also more people were spending their main holiday at their resorts in Britain. Benidorm, it seems, may well have competition from Blackpool.

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