An increase in local tourists staying at a picturesque north-east caravan park has given it a boost.
Portsoy Links Caravan Park had a late flurry of bookings in October and November with many of those staying at the site coming from Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.
That led to a 25% rise in bookings for the caravan park with people keen to secure accommodation in the village despite the coronavirus crisis.
It has provided a much-needed boost after Covid-19 restrictions meant the site was closed over some of its busiest months of the year.
Even after it reopened in mid-July, its site capacity was reduced by half to provide a safe environment and suitable social distancing for visitors and staff.
An increase in the number of motorhomes using the seafront site has also been recorded. This corresponds with reports from motorhome and caravan dealers who had booming post-lockdown sales after caravan parks were able to reopen in July.
Ian Tillett, Portsoy Links Caravan Park manager, said: “2020 looked like being a complete washout. However, we have been heartened to see so many visitors come and stay as late as October and November, many of whom are first time visitors from Moray, the Highlands and other parts of Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen itself.
“Some people just wanted to get away from their own four walls and felt more confident about staying in their local region.
“Others hadn’t had their summer break, as they were waiting to see the implications of the Covid 19 on travel arrangements.
“In recent years there has been a rise in the number of motorhome visitors, and that continues to be seen, but we have also had people coming to camp well into November, so there has been the full mix of static, caravan, tent, campervan and motorhome usage.
“Our overseas trade was wiped out this year, but we have been pleased to welcome more people from the local area, many of whom had never considered staying at Portsoy before because it was so close to where they stay.
“It’s been a year of challenges, but we are fortunate to have a great staff team here who have been flexible and adapted to ever-changing situations.
“We’re feeling positive for 2021. There remains uncertainty around foreign travel and indications are that people will plan to have breaks earlier in the season. We expect that they will continue to holiday closer to home. With more motorhomes out there, this is likely to see owners take an increased number of holidays or shorter breaks, which will bring benefits to sites.
“Visitors love our seafront location and being able to explore the coastline, and the wider area around Portsoy. It’s a fantastic place with lots to see and do, even when attractions were not open due to Covid 19.
“There are great walking routes, some stunning places to take pictures like all around our historic harbour, and an abundance of wildlife, including seals and dolphins and oyster catchers, red shanks and cormorants.”
Portsoy Links Caravan Park is owned and operated by Portsoy Community Enterprise, which oversees a range of assets in the town for the benefit of preserving heritage and promoting economic regeneration through tourism.
Its renowned Scottish Traditional Boat Festival – a two-day summer event that draws in crowds of 16,000 people – was forced to cancel due to Covid-19 although it will come back next year with suitable coronavirus measures in place.
David Urquhart, chairman of Portsoy Community Enterprise, welcomed the stay-at-home holiday market increase, and the benefits that this has brought for the area.
Mr Urquhart said: “This year has resulted in seismic shifts in holiday patterns, but we are pleased to have seen more visitors from the local area choosing to stay at Portsoy.
“We hope they come back again as we believe that Portsoy’s offering makes it a great destination for visitors all year round.”