Tag Archives: Tourism

Holiday park giant and Chester Zoo strengthen UK wildlife protection partnership

BREATHTAKING British wildlife has been celebrated and showcased within a flourishing partnership between Darwin Escapes and Chester Zoo.

And that relationship will be strengthened further as the two organisations forge even closer links this summer.

The Talacre-based holiday home company – which owns a series of luxury lodge retreats across the UK – has sponsored British wildlife conservation at Chester Zoo, celebrated by Native, the captivating immersive exhibition, since its opening last year.

The exhibition has been viewed by up to a million people and offers a fully immersive 360-degree experience using projections to showcase the captivating species which inhabit the UK.

As a champion of ecology and conservation, Darwin Escapes – which embraces nature and creates sustainable settings for wildlife at all its parks – is delighted to extend its support until September.

While touring the 600mdigital space, Group Operations Director Drew Campbell said he was thrilled to see the partnership go from strength to strength.

“All 26 of our locations across the UK are in the countryside and by the sea, at the heart of incredible wildlife and nature, so fostering a close connection with these picturesque surroundings is paramount to us,” said Drew.

“Owners and visitors share the space with the animals and creatures which were there long before us, so we are careful to maintain and protect their habitats for many years to come.

“That’s why we are so privileged to support Chester Zoo’s incredible conservation efforts and play a part in educating visitors and celebrating the amazing wildlife we have right on our doorstep here in Britain.”

He added: “This is quite a spectacular and unique experience, one I’m sure will continue to attract the crowds over the summer.

“In addition to our mutual passion for nature and the environment, both Darwin Escapes and Chester Zoo are also at the forefront of the tourism industry in Wales and the North West – bringing many people to the area and supporting the local economy – another pivotal contribution to our alliance.”

Visitors to Native can explore coastal, grassland, wetland, and woodland environments, encountering up-close footage of a diverse array of animals, from seals and dolphins to squirrels and Scottish wildcats.

Completing the experience is an interactive discovery area in which guests can take a walk around a giant tree model and watch camera trap footage from the Zoo’s nature reserve, home to kingfishers, hedgehogs and more.

Cat Humes, Strategic Partnerships Fundraiser at Chester Zoo, said: “We’re delighted that Darwin Escapes is continuing to support our conservation charity.

“As one of our first corporate sponsors onsite at the zoo, this partnership is a great example of how businesses can make a meaningful impact. Unique relationships like this help to highlight the importance of protecting and preserving vital habitats and educate hundreds of thousands of visitors about British wildlife conservation.”

She added: “Right now we’re facing a global biodiversity and climate crisis, and the UK is one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world.

“From butterflies to badgers and pollinators to puffins, all play a vital role for ecosystems across the UK. Never before has nature been in need of more urgent help and we’re proud to come together with Darwin Escapes to try and bring about positive change.”

For more information on Darwin Escapes, visit Holiday Park Resorts UK | Ownership & Short Breaks Resorts – Darwin Escapes and follow @darwinescapes on social media.

Visit Chester Zoo | Start Your Adventure | Creating Unforgettable Experiences for the latest news and information from Chester Zoo.

£8m holiday resort celebrates 10 years, new attractions and significant investment

A LUXURY lodge park celebrating 10 years on the north coast of Cornwall will make a huge splash this summer.

Darwin Escapes’ Piran Meadows retreat in Newquay has been attracting visitors to the idyllic town for more than a decade.

Following an initial £8m acquisition and period of significant investment – which included a complete overhaul and extension of the 33-acre site – the 181-space resort has pumped hundreds of thousands of pounds into the local economy.

Employing more than 30 staff, the park unveiled high-quality facilities and now a series of events and attractions which will continue to entertain holiday homeowners from England and beyond over the coming months.

Sales manager Gavin Hewitt revealed activities including axe-throwing and rock climbing – as part of their popular GoActive programme – are creating a buzz locally and nationwide.

“This is a park like no other, it’s a unique location which appeals to all,” said Gavin, who previously served for more than a decade with the 7th Parachute Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery.

“While we have owners from as far away as Wales, the North West and all over the country, our presence in Cornwall continues to grow.

“We have 250 members from this area alone, and giving back to them and local businesses is important to us, as well as ensuring those from further afield are well catered for and looked after when using our facilities, from the bar and restaurant to the five-star gym, sauna, and steam room.

“Darwin Escapes has also introduced free site fees and energy bills for this year, so we can alleviate the pressure on park users given the cost-of-living challenges facing so many families today.”

He added: “There is a real community feel at Piran Meadows, and that goes for our team as well; many of the owners have been here for years and so have we. We have all grown together and are excited for the next chapter.”

With an upgrade in facilities featuring an indoor heated swimming pool, coffee shop, bar and bistro, bowling alley and sports complex, and so many things to do – from football, pool, and table tennis to body boarding, snorkelling and even ‘wizard workshops’ – Gavin is proud of the service they deliver.

However, he believes the “best-kept secret in Cornwall” has an even greater selling point.

“One thing we can’t take credit for is the amazing views we have here, and the most incredible sunset you will ever see,” he said.

“We will continue to improve our facilities, invest in the park and create opportunities for local people and the economy, but nothing can compare with that!”

Gavin added: “We are all so proud of the park, it’s a wonderful place to live and work in a wonderful part of the country – long may that continue.”

For more information and to register your interest in holiday home ownership at Piran Meadows, visit the website Lodge Breaks & Caravan Holidays in Newquay | Piran Meadows (darwinescapes.co.uk). You can follow Darwin Escapes on social media at @darwinescapes.

Guests at luxury palace retreat can now stay in lodges designed by stars of hit TV show

VISITORS to a luxury holiday retreat in the grounds of a world heritage site can stay in exclusive accommodation remodelled by stars of a popular TV show.

The grand finale of BBC’s Interior Design Masters series – watched by up to 2.8m viewers – saw contestants Roisin Quinn and Matt Smith-Wood revamp two high-quality cabins at Darwin Escapes’ picturesque Blenheim Palace Lodge Retreat in Woodstock, Oxfordshire.

The park has been a huge hit with families across the UK since opening last summer, and now looks set to attract even more customers, including fans of the hit programme fronted by comedian Alan Carr and judge Michelle Ogundehin.

Featuring a selection of one, two and three-bedroom self-catering lodges, the retreat is nestled within more than 2,000 acres of countryside and gardens, just a stone’s throw from the 320-year Palace, home to the 12th Duke of Marlborough and birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill.

Resort Manager Simon Oliver says the impact of Interior Design Masters will reinforce a strong first year at the picturesque landmark.

“We have had a great start to life at Blenheim Palace, the feedback has been brilliant and visitor numbers look set to rise further, especially given the success of the TV series,” he said.

“That coupled with the increase in bookings we receive when events are held here, and the growing name of Darwin Escapes in this region, point to a successful summer and beyond.”

Simon added: “The two lodges redesigned by Matt and Roisin look incredible, they are very different and bespoke to varying tastes, from the furniture to the interior, decoration, and layout.

“Given their prominence in the final I’m sure fans of the series will be keen to book them, so that’s an added USP for this site.”

The final was won by Roisin, from Wirral, who was praised by judges – including renowned US potter Jonathan Adler – for creating a “joyous, memorable and delightful” lodge, a “fresh and very optimistic space”.

Her design included leafy wallpaper, glass pendants, mid-century dining furniture, sunshine yellow décor, bold soft furnishings, and an outdoor dining area to create what she herself described as “a colourful, cosy cabin in the woods”, a “magical space, a wonderland”.

Runner-up Matt, from Cheltenham, took a more contemporary approach with “nods to Blenheim Palace”, and his ideas featured traditional-style panelling, a gold leaf and mono kitchen, a plush rug, gold velvet sofa, modern chandeliers, and an external lounge area.

Both were tasked with “designing holiday lodges fit for royalty” and managed to achieve their goals in just two days with a budget of £6,000.

Following years of development and significant investment, Blenheim Palace Lodge Retreat opened last August and now employs eight people from the local area.

The lodges were built with sustainability a priority, they are fitted with electric vehicle charging points and a quarter are pet friendly.

“There’s so much to do in this part of the world and of course the Palace is busy all year-round, so this is the perfect place to visit when exploring Oxfordshire,” said Simon.

“As viewers of the TV show witnessed, it’s a very special place, and I’m sure more and more people will come to see that for themselves in the months and years ahead.”

Heather Carter, Managing Director at Blenheim Palace, added: “It was a great pleasure and a lot of fun to have Interior Design Masters with Alan Carr film with us at Blenheim Palace in September last year. They were here for five days filming both at the Palace and the lodges, and we managed to keep it secret until the big reveal on BBC1.

“We have a lot of filming here at the Palace and it gives us great reach into new audiences, we know that being featured on such a popular programme as Interior Design Masters will entice more people to visit the Palace and book one of the lodges.”

For more information and to book, visit Luxury retreat holiday lodges Oxford | Blenheim Palace (darwinescapes.co.uk) and follow them on social media at @darwinescapes.

To win a free midweek break for up to four people at one of the lodges designed by Matt or Roisin, and tickets to Blenheim Palace, visit the website: Enter here | Interior Design Masters | Blenheim Palace Lodge Retreat (darwinescapes.co.uk).  

Holiday park scales new heights following investment and creation of caravan ‘community’

A SEASIDE holiday retreat is going from strength to strength thanks to a unique ‘family feel’ which led to a wave of new customers post-Covid.

Darwin Escapes’ New Pines Holiday Home Park, on the outskirts of Dyserth and Rhyl, is unlike any other in the region.

Employing 40 staff and with more than 300 caravans and lodges on site – all of them owned, rather than rented – there is a sense of community which has led to the creation of sports clubs, a dining society, social organisations and more.

There is even a walking group with up to 180 members, two of whom recently completed a trek to the base camp at Mount Everest, where they proudly displayed a New Pines flag!

Following a revamp which included sports and leisure facilities, a heated swimming pool, bar and lounge, a dog walking area, and a bustling entertainment complex, the park is busier than ever before.

Sales Manager James Jones said there is a togetherness and warmth that appeals to prospective owners, a welcoming, safe environment which attracts families from Wales, Merseyside, Cheshire, the Midlands and beyond.

“There is a real community feel to New Pines, which stems from the ownership model we have here,” said James, from Mold, who celebrates a decade with Talacre-based Darwin Escapes in 2025.

“There are so many clubs and groups which make people feel special, there is an exclusivity because every caravan and lodge is owned – it’s their little piece of Wales, and they love that.”

He added: “We did see an upturn in sales following the pandemic – our try before you buy offer has been well-received – and upgrades in stock, and as we approach our busiest time of the year the future is looking bright.

“We make life as easy as possible, it’s very simple to buy, we are flexible and there is something for any budget, because inclusivity is paramount to us.”

With offers including free site fees, free energy bills and 50% off site fees next year, interest is building into the summer, with caravan prices beginning at £19,999.

But James says those are peripheral factors, a bonus for their demographic.

“While there has been investment in the buildings and facilities over the years, and in bringing the very best live acts to the park, the real draw has been the atmosphere and camaraderie,” he said.

“People use New Pines differently, there are couples who have been here for a long time, whose children have grown up together, and generations of families who return because of the memories they have.”

James added: “Because of our unique location, nestled between the beach and countryside, we have beautiful views while being a stone’s throw away from vibrant towns and cities.

“This has all played its part in the success of New Pines, and long may that continue.”

For more information on New Pines Holiday Home Park, visit the website Static caravans for sale in Rhyl | New Pines | Darwin Escapes and follow @darwinescapes on social media.

New HR managers’ research on attractiveness of hospitality professions released in Sommet Education Foundation launch

Sommet Education, a leading worldwide player in hospitality education boasting a community of 10,000 students and 60,000 influential alumni worldwide, has launched its Foundation, a significant milestone aimed at supporting employment challenges within the hospitality sector.

The Foundation will concentrate on tackling the sector’s employment challenges by focusing on two levers of action: offering scholarships for hospitality education to talented individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, and advocating for careers and professions in hospitality.

 

Empowering individuals from underserved communities to pursue rewarding careers in hospitality

The launch comes at a pivotal moment for the industry, with the travel and tourism sector projected to provide employment for 449 million people worldwide by 2034, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). By then, 12.2% of the global workforce will be powering this vibrant sector. Despite these promising figures, many destinations and hospitality employers continue to face recruitment challenges.

Drawing on Sommet Education’s long-standing commitment to developing hospitality talent, the Sommet Education Foundation will leverage its global network of hospitality schools (Glion Institute of Higher Education, Les Roches, École Ducasse, Invictus, and Indian School of Hospitality) to train and open doors to careers in this industry for individuals from diverse and socially disadvantaged backgrounds.

The Sommet Education Foundation will identify talents supported by a network of social partners, including UN agencies, governmental entities and NGOs. Talents will be selected in alignment with the framework of United Nations Sustainable Development Goal number 4, focusing on inclusive education. Funding and support will be provided to educate and empower, particularly youth from impoverished backgrounds and women, while also creating lifelong learning opportunities and ensuring talents are gainfully employed within the sector.

 

Sommet Education Foundation patronage

“Joining the hospitality industry is more than a job guarantee; it is a promise of a rewarding and fulfilling career nurtured by human encounters, passion, cultural exchanges, and experiences,” said Anouck Weiss, Executive Vice-President at Sommet Education Foundation. “By offering scholarships leading to employment opportunities, we aim at offering life-changing opportunities to a new generation of talents and empowering them with the necessary skills to join the thriving hospitality industry.”

The Foundation can already count on Accor as a Founding Patron. The hospitality group has already committed to promoting talent development, fostering social equality, and bolstering economic growth through a first dedicated initiative in India. Steven Daines, Chief Talent & Culture Officer at Accor, said: “As a leading hospitality group, investing in people’s talent is a key priority. Hospitality is a sector that transcends territories and borders. This implies open-mindedness and connection to others. I am proud to be in a sector that promotes cross-border work experiences and multicultural environments”.

Echoing his views, Anne-Sophie Beraud, SVP Diversity & Inclusion & Social Care at Accor, added: “The success of our employees must not be determined by diplomas, origins or nationalities. We want to guarantee each of our talents the opportunity to reach their full potential by preventing inequalities and discrimination.”

Promoting hospitality professions: survey shows strong sector attractiveness and employer voluntarism to attract and retain new talents

 

To inform the Foundation’s roadmap and strategic direction, the Sommet Education Foundation engaged OpinionWay, a pioneering market research institute, to conduct a comprehensive European survey to identify the key factors that attract and retain talents in the hospitality industry. 1,300 young professionals and hospitality HR managers across Europe were interviewed, along with 20 key industry leaders (below) encompassing the broader spectrum of the sector, including hotels, restaurants, travel, tourism, independent, medium-sized and large hotel groups, and high-end retail.

Alain Ducasse, Chef and Founder, École Ducasse

Carole Pourchet, Director General, Majorian

Christelle Grisoni, CEO, Bertrand Hospitality

Christian Catiello, Manager Director Organization, Alpitour World

Christopher Jones, Director General, Brioche Dorée

Cyril Baron, General Manager, Caviar House & Prunier

Eric Frechon, Chef, Meilleur Ouvrier de France

Isabelle de Bardies, Director General – CEO Division, Angelina

Jade Frommer, Co-Founder and CEO, Ephemera

Katrin Melle, Regional Vice President DEI & Talent EAME, Hyatt

Laurent Kleitman, Group Chief Executive Officer, Mandarin Oriental

Maribel Rodriguez, Senior Vice-President, WTTC

Marion Amacker, Associate Director, Morgan Philipps Executive Search

Natalia Bayona, Executive Director, UN Tourism

Nathalie Seiler Hayez, Managing Director, Swiss Deluxe Hotels

Philippe Héry, Managing Director, Hippopotamus

Pierre-Olivier Aguinalin, Chief HR Officer, Hublot (until February 2024)

Sabine Masseglia, Managing Director, St Barts Tourism

Steven Daines, Chief Talent & Culture Officer, Accor

Tigrane Seydoux, Co-Founder, Big Mamma

The research found that the service sector holds considerable appeal for 85% of young professionals across Europe. Three-quarters of young European professionals would be ready to join high-end hotels, restaurants and retail shops, praising the career opportunities, especially internationally, and the people-to-people connections. The survey confirms the overall challenge of the sector throughout Europe, with 59% of HR managers facing employment challenges. 78% state that Generation Z (18 to 28 years old) brings specific challenges around identification, recruitment and loyalty.

 

Hospitality’s unique promise fuels optimism in the sector

Professionals within the sector are resolutely convinced of the depth and appeal of their respective fields, the survey found, with an overwhelming 86% expressing confidence in the sector’s allure. Moreover, they exhibit unwavering faith in their ability to sustain employee commitment, rating it at an impressive 7.5 out of 10.

This sector offers pathways for individuals to advance socially and professionally, regardless of their educational background. It stands out as one of the few industries where individuals can achieve rapid success and take on greater responsibilities over time, effectively climbing the social ladder. This unique promise of upward mobility makes it particularly appealing to many. Furthermore, employers place a premium on motivation, soft skills and service-oriented personalities, prioritising these qualities over formal diplomas and are ready to invest in their talents. The overwhelming majority – 93% of HR managers – emphasise the centrality of training in fostering talent excellence, development and long-term loyalty.

On this subject, Laurent Kleitman, Group Chief Executive at Mandarin Oriental, shared: “Architects design the buildings of tomorrow. I would like people coming out of hospitality schools to be able to design the experience of tomorrow.”

Hospitality leaders Les Roches commit to specialised education in sports management and events

Les Roches, one of the world’s leading hospitality management institutions, is launching a new specialised program in sports tourism, the Master’s in Sports Management and Events, starting in September 2024.

The global sports tourism industry was valued at $323,420 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach $1,803,704 billion by 2030, according to the international consultancy Allied Market Research, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.1% over the next six years.

This year alone sees two of the world’s most spectacular sporting events, the UEFA European Foootball Championship in Germany, and the Olympics Games in Paris, which will make them among the most sought-after destinations this summer.

In response to this growing demand, Les Roches has announced the Master’s in Sports Management and Events.

Spanning 12 months, students will delve into the global sports and events industry, gaining essential skills for administrative and managerial roles. This includes analysing the industry’s economic aspects on an international scale and planning and executing events.

As part of the program, students will embark on business field trips to Abu Dhabi, a premier destination renowned for hosting prestigious events like the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship and NBA Games. Additionally, they will visit Switzerland, home to major European sports organisations.

These trips offer invaluable opportunities for students to immerse themselves in real-world settings, network with industry leaders, and gain practical insights into sports management practices on a global scale.

The international sports and events industry offers exceptional professional opportunities, as various destinations, regions and even countries utilise sports to diversify their economies while reinforcing their tourism and hospitality sectors. However, the sports-driven tourism industry is not solely focused on entertainment. The profile of vacationers has also shifted towards a healthier lifestyle. As a result, there has been an increased demand trend for hotel accommodation with attractive sports offers.

Carlos Díez de la Lastra, Les Roches Global CEO, said: “Faced with a changing global demand, tourism companies must prepare for a decade filled with new expectations from travellers. Sports tourism is one of them. Over the past years, it has shown very positive growth figures, and we are confident it will continue this trend. Sports is a universal language known to all, which is why companies need to anticipate future trends, aiming to offer their customers excellent service and exquisite experiences. The implementation of this Master’s program represents a firm commitment to education in a field that gains more aspirants each year and requires highly-qualified and specialised personnel.”

 

Currently, Les Roches boasts a global network of over 16,000 alumni holding managerial positions in more than 140 countries worldwide. Of these, 67% secured their first job through school contacts, and 33% successfully launched their own ventures. Upon graduation, students receive an average of five offers from top hospitality, luxury tourism and related services companies and graduates typically triple their pre-degree salary within 12 years.

 

With a 70-year history, Les Roches is at the forefront of innovation in the hospitality sector. Its students gain access each semester to job and internships placements at over 200 leading companies in the hotel, luxury tourism and related industries, such as Louis Vuitton, Accor Hotels, IHG, The Ritz-Carlton, Soho House & Co, Mandarin Oriental, Marriott International, Silversea, Qatar Airways and Hublot, among others.

 

In addition, numerous Les Roches alumni already hold successful positions and have made significant contributions in sports management and events in some of the biggest sports brands and businesses such as Formula 1, FIFA, Nike, Netflix and the Olympic Committee.

Leisure company submits multi-million pound plans for new holiday park development

MULTI-MILLION pound plans have been submitted for the development of a spectacular state-of-the-art leisure complex at a popular holiday park.

SF Parks submitted proposals for a six-lane bowling alley, rooftop bar, extended amusement arcade and relocated reception and offices at its Golden Gate Holiday Centre in Towyn.

The revamped facilities will complement a new swimming pool and recently renovated clubhouse on-site and come as the business seeks to increase the current 7 ½ month season to 10 ½ months in a bid to further boost the local economy and create more full-time jobs.

Doing so would also mean these high-quality attractions could be used by caravan owners and the public throughout the year.

It is another significant investment by directors Oliver and Jonathan Seldon, who want to build the seaside town’s reputation as a popular tourist destination.

“Bringing people to the area throughout the year, not just in the summer, is vital for Towyn and surrounding areas,” said Jonathan.

“Which is why the application to extend the season at Golden Gate to 10 ½ months goes hand-in-hand with our plans to transform the leisure facilities and continue improving the experience for our loyal customers.”

Oliver added: “Our plans for Golden Gate and White House will be followed by improvements at our other parks, as across the portfolio we want to continue creating high-quality facilities for families to enjoy.

“We have had tremendous feedback from owners, from the community and businesses who all want to see more things to do, more jobs and a thriving Towyn all-year round – our commitment to further investment reflects that.”

In addition to White House and Golden Gate – which host more than 830 caravans – SF Parks owns Riverside and Sun Valley in Rhuddlan, and Sirior Bach in Moelfre, Abergele.

Plans for Golden Gate come just months after a successful application to build a new high ropes course, spa, sauna, and gym complex and wine bar at neighbouring White House Leisure Park.

That will be followed by an upgrade to Jakes family restaurant and pub, an amusement arcade, a cinema room, and soft play, accompanying existing facilities including a crazy golf course and food and drinks outlets, plus ‘The Jump’, an adrenaline-fuelled activity where customers can leap from a three or six-foot platform onto a giant airbag.

For more information and to contact SF Parks, email opteam@sfparks.co.uk.

Alternatively, visit www.whitehouseleisurepark.com or www.seldonsgoldengate.co.uk.

Holiday park to unveil high ropes course as bosses await green light for new ‘Jump’ attraction

A NEW adventure attraction for thrill-seekers and families will be unveiled this weekend.

Following significant investment, SF Parks is to launch the much-anticipated high ropes course at its White House Leisure Park in Towyn on Saturday (May 27).

This latest addition to the park will be followed by an upgrade to Jakes family restaurant and pub, an amusement arcade, a cinema room, and soft play, complementing existing facilities including a crazy golf course and food and drinks outlets.

And it comes as the family-owned business awaits planning permission for another adrenaline-fuelled activity – The Jump – where customers can leap from a three or six-foot platform onto a giant airbag.

SF Parks, which also owns Golden Gate in Towyn, Riverside and Sun Valley in Rhuddlan, and Sirior Bach in Moelfre, Abergele, has big plans for the future.

Director Jonathan Seldon says these exciting developments are just the start.

“The response to the high ropes course and all of our plans has been really positive, so we thank everyone for their support,” he added.

“Our loyal customers are always top priority and enhancing their experience is paramount, which is why we will continue to make improvements and introduce more exhilarating and engaging attractions across the SF Parks portfolio.”

Fellow director Oliver Seldon reinforced those comments and revealed their overall vision will lead to more developments in the months ahead.

“This new attraction and The Jump – should we receive the green light next month – show how committed we are to our customers and also the local economy, supporting small businesses and creating full-time and seasonal jobs,” he said.

“We will continue to improve standards, embrace innovation and keep investing in all of our parks as that will have a lasting impact not just on SF Parks but the region’s tourism sector.”

The high ropes course will be open to the public and visitors can book in person or by visiting the company’s website. SF Parks caravan owners will pay a discounted rate.

For more information and to contact SF Parks, email opteam@sfparks.co.uk.

Alternatively, visit www.whitehouseleisurepark.com or www.seldonsgoldengate.co.uk.

Green light for holiday park development as leisure firm goes from strength to strength

A LEADING leisure company creating jobs and supporting the coastal economy is making a significant investment in two of its key holiday parks.

SF Parks has received planning permission to build a new high ropes course, spa, sauna, and gym complex and wine bar at White House Leisure Park in Towyn.

The development will also feature an upgrade to the popular Jakes family restaurant and pub, an amusement arcade, a cinema room, and soft play, complementing existing facilities including a crazy golf course and food and drinks outlets.

The good news comes as directors Jonathan and Oliver Seldon put forward proposals to construct a rooftop bar, bowling alley, reception area and extend the arcade at the neighbouring Golden Gate Holiday Centre.

The business – which has five parks in North Wales, employing up to 120 full time and seasonal staff – is also looking to increase the current 7 ½ month season to 10 ½ months at Golden Gate in a bid to employ more full-time workers and increase spend in the local area all-year round.

“We are pleased to receive the green light and thankful to Conwy’s planning team and councillors for their support,” said Jonathan.

“Our vision is to keep enhancing the customer experience, keep investing in our parks and most importantly, contribute to the local economy through jobs and tourism.

“As well as the improvements we are making to our facilities, we are pushing to increase the season from 7 ½ months to 10 ½ months because that will enable us to recruit more people full time, rather than seasonal workers, which in turn will have a positive effect on employment in this area and allow owners to enjoy the park facilities for a longer period.

“Our aim is for Towyn to be busy all the time, not just for part of the year, so we hope to receive positive news on that front soon.”

He added: “The investment we are making at White House and Golden Gate is significant and to be followed by upgrades to our other parks.

“We are always looking at the bigger picture and want to expand in the future, while at the same time building on the overall customer experience and developing our identity as one of the region’s top hospitality and tourism operators.”

In addition to White House and Golden Gate – which host more than 830 caravans – SF Parks owns Riverside and Sun Valley in Rhuddlan, and Sirior Bach in Moelfre, Abergele.

Oliver believes their commitment to the North Wales coast and becoming an even more sustainable organisation will stand them in good stead post-pandemic.

He said: “We are bringing all five of our parks in line with the wider brand so across the board we can continue to enhance and improve our offering for our caravan owners and guests.

“As White House and Golden Gate are so close it makes sense for them to become more integrated, so owners can enjoy these improved facilities long-term.

“We will soon be in consultation on the Golden Gate plans and will be keen to receive feedback and suggestions; we always want to hear from our customers, as well as the local community, because they are a big part of this.”

Jim Jones, CEO of North Wales Tourism, congratulated SF Parks on its commitment to improving the Conwy coastline, supporting local jobs and tourism.

“The revitalisation of our seaside towns through investment is essential in helping to boost the local economy, creating new opportunities for businesses and our community alike,” he said.

“I am pleased to see the plans from Jonathan and Oliver Seldon and think they will bring much-needed entertainment and job opportunities to the area. Let’s hope all the proposals receive approval and contribute to the rejuvenation of these wonderful coastal areas.”

For more information and to contact SF Parks, email opteam@sfparks.co.uk.

Alternatively, visit www.whitehouseleisurepark.com or www.seldonsgoldengate.co.uk.

Fast-growing StayCotswold moves to new HQ

A fast-growing Cotswolds holiday home rentals business has moved to bigger premises as it embarks on the next phase of its expansion.

StayCotswold has relocated from an office in Burford, Oxfordshire, to a double-fronted shop in the centre of Stow-on-the-Wold.

The former greetings card shop on Digbeth Street has been fitted out to accommodate StayCotswold’s growing team.

StayCotswold was founded in 2009 by Fergus Mitchell and, in April 2021, a team of professionals with vast experience in the holiday cottages sector acquired the business. Fergus has remained as a director and shareholder.

The team comprises Mat Faraday, Tom Burdett and Tracy Archer. Mat co-founded Character Cottages, which was sold to Pure Cottages Group in 2018. Tom is a former managing director of Character Cottages and Tracy was previously sales and marketing director at Pure Cottages Group.

StayCotswold had just three staff when the trio acquired the business. Following a period of rapid growth, its team has increased in size to 13.

The number of properties in its portfolio has more than doubled from 60 to 140 since the business changed hands, and bookings per property have significantly increased to an average of 50 a year. Booking levels this summer were 13 per cent ahead of the same period in 2021.

StayCotswold’s portfolio includes typical Cotswold cottages, luxurious converted barns, manor houses and farmhouses as well as a burgeoning collection of shepherd’s huts and cabins, which are proving increasingly popular for being closer to the outdoors. The StayCotswold portfolio can cater for two people all the way to groups of up to 28.

Tracy said the Cotswolds are in growing demand for short breaks, especially among people living in the London area seeking an escape to the countryside. The area is also proving a magnet for overseas visitors who want a taste of rural England and are being attracted to the UK by the fall in value of the pound.

“The Cotswolds is an area of outstanding beauty and is also home to a whole range of major attractions and events, including the private members’ club Soho Farmhouse, Daylesford Organic Farm and the Big Feastival music festival,” said Tracy.

“We are looking to add dozens more properties over the coming months to cater for the increased demand, as we believe the market for holiday rentals in the Cotswolds will continue to grow.

“Our experienced team has a friendly, enthusiastic can-do attitude and possess plenty of knowledge about the area, as well as what makes a great property and will sell well, so they are extremely well-placed to offer expert advice.

“As well as expanding the team, we’ve invested in relevant technology to provide a dynamic, variable pricing structure that benefits owners and guests alike, and a fully-optimised website that takes direct bookings for all our properties.

“Alongside this we developed the business branding to reflect the quality of our homes and to bring to life the whole experience of what a holiday in the Cotswolds can offer. Our guests know that their holiday experience will be authentic, and our owners know that their property is in the best local hands.

“We know from our previous experience that a high street location is the optimum place to be for the business.

“Relocating to fantastic new headquarters in the centre of Stow and being so accessible to owners and potential guests makes it a truly exciting time for the business and demonstrates our confidence in our offering and the potential for the brand.”