A Paignton holiday park is ready to re-open after months of being in shutdown - but ‘responsible’ will be the key word

Hoburne Devon Bay Holiday ParkHoburne Devon Bay Holiday Park

THE responsible reopening of the Torbay tourism and hospitality industry is the major challenge facing our community in the coming weeks.

The thorough preparations at Hoburne Devon Bay Holiday Park in Goodrington is a clear indication of the commitment to a responsible and safe summer in the Bay.

The industry has been in lockdown since the end of March with millions of pounds lost to the economy and thousands of jobs at risk.

The potential go-ahead for the re-opening of the tourism sector has been earmarked for July 4 but the government has yet to give the official green light.

The English Riviera BID CompanyThe English Riviera BID Company

Meanwhile the English Riviera BID Company are now championing a campaign to reassure people that the Bay will be a Responsible Riviera.

Businesses throughout the resort will be following strict government guidelines and regulations as a hugely important part of that re-opening strategy.

Hoburne has adopted a three-stage sequence to its planned reopening and regular communication is a key element to this plan.

“Prior to the opening stage, we grouped together with other holiday park operators to identify the challenges we need to meet before reopening,” said Gary Cook, general manager at Hoburne Devon Bay Holiday Park in Goodrington.

“We have been in communication with the Government on a three-stage plan to reopening. As soon as it is safe to do so, we would firstly like to give those with privately-owned accommodation access to the Park for them to come down and check their units. This approach also helps us to control numbers, as people would not be all coming down at once.

“In accordance with any relaxation in the social distancing guidelines, we have a plan to open the Park to holidaymakers and get the summer season underway in a responsible reopening.

“The internal spaces of bars, restaurants and pools will remain closed until otherwise advised by the Government but at least holidaymakers can visit the Park, as we provide a safe environment with excellent self-contained accommodation, perfect for social distancing.

“The third stage would be the reopening of bars and restaurants, but obviously with strict adherence to the guidelines set by the Government. This will also enable us to bring our team members back into work.

“There has also been a lot of communication with our customers, sharing feedback with our owners and those booked on holidays,” added Gary.

“We’ve sent out emails to owners and regular updates on our social media, which has led to some really positive and supportive responses.

“People understand the situation and they like the fact we have stayed in communication. We’ve also telephoned everyone booked with us, giving them the option to book at a later date, book for next year or offered a full refund, unlike some of our competitors.

“We have provided our guests with reassurance and for peace of mind, we now offer a Coronavirus guarantee for every holiday booking in 2020 and 2021.

“In relation to the practicalities, we’ve written thorough risk assessments and detailed plans for the Park. We’ve done that for all different areas of the Park, including control measures for the offices and cleaning operations.

“The cleaning of accommodation is obviously very important, and we’ve adopted a new way of working to enhance our already very strict hygiene routine, so every unit is thoroughly cleaned, and all our staff have PPE. We have also added extensive signage, hand sanitisers at key touch-points around the Park and protective screens.

“There is also a new process of external check-ins and touring customers are sent all their details in the post, allowing them to gain access to the Park in the safest manner possible. We are ready to go now and welcome people back to the Park.”