Center Parcs has today announced it will reopen all of its villages from Monday 13 July 2020.
The announcement comes after all five UK villages closed their doors on Friday 20 March in response to the global coronavirus pandemic, with the village in Ireland, Longford Forest, closing a week earlier.
In line with government guidance, there will be social distancing and new safety measures in place to protect the families who visit each week and the company’s 9,500 employees.
Center Parcs’ CEO, Martin Dalby, said: “Although it was disappointing to have to close our villages, it was the right thing to do to keep our guests and staff safe. The coronavirus pandemic has had a significant effect and we always said we would only reopen once we were 100% satisfied it was safe to do so. We’ve had our teams working around the clock to review everything we do, right down to the smallest detail, and we‘re now ready to open our doors again.
“We know that a lot of families were looking forward to Center Parcs breaks and we can’t wait to welcome you back to the forest. Those families who have visited us before will notice some changes to the way we’re doing things, but the essence of a Center Parcs break will remain the same, offering a fantastic short break experience with plenty of space within our 400 acres of natural woodland.”
The new measures to keep guests and staff safe include:
- Reduced numbers of guests on each break
- Changes to some activities to maintain social distancing
- An enhanced cleaning regime for accommodation and central areas
- Changes to arrival and departure times to allow more time for enhanced cleaning
- Cashless payment only across the villages
- Online-only bookings and payment for activities
- New takeaway service offering contactless delivery to lodges
Initially, in line with government guidance, the UK villages will open without the Subtropical Swimming Paradise and Aqua Sana Spa. In Ireland, subject to government guidance, both facilities are planned to reopen from Monday 27 July.
CEO Martin Dalby said: “We know how disappointing it will be for some families that the Subtropical Swimming Paradise isn’t open during their break. We have been planning the changes needed to maintain social distancing and we look forward to reopening these facilities as soon as we are able to do so and as soon as we are 100% satisfied we're ready to do so. However, we know that so many families have been looking forward to their breaks and we are so pleased to be open for the summer.”
Center Parcs has also introduced a ‘book with confidence’ guarantee which allows guests to cancel their break up to six days prior to arrival and still receive a full refund. The company has also acknowledged that, with some changes to facilities, some guests may prefer to reschedule their break or cancel and receive a full refund and is providing full flexibility with no charges.
During the four-month closure period, the majority of the company’s 9,500 employees have been supported by the UK Government’s Job Retention Scheme and the Irish Government's Covid-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme, and work is now ongoing to bring employees back to work and deliver a comprehensive training programme around new ways of working and safety procedures.
Martin Dalby said: “The ongoing maintenance of our villages and how wonderful they are looking is a real testament to the commitment and adaptability of the teams. Closure has been a huge undertaking and something of this scale has never been done in the history of our business, let alone by a team with less than one year of experience, as is the case at Longford Forest. We’ve all been impressed by the way people have quickly got used to new ways of working and I know the whole Center Parcs family are so excited to welcome our guests back to the forest!”
Martin has also been involved with the national Tourism Recovery Task Force in Ireland. He said: "I was delighted and honoured to be asked to join the Tourism Recovery Task Force. It's been hugely rewarding to be able to bring our 33 years of experience in the tourism sector to the table and I hope we are adding valuable insight. Hopefully we're starting to see the first steps towards helping get Ireland's fantastic tourism industry back up on its feet."
More details of the new measures can be found here.
Notes to Editors
- Center Parcs UK has been a separate company to Center Parcs Europe since 2001; the two organisations only share a brand name and the core concept of family short breaks in the forest.
- Center Parcs has six villages across the UK and Ireland; Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire, Elveden Forest in Suffolk, Longleat Forest in Wiltshire, Whinfell Forest in Cumbria, Woburn Forest in Bedfordshire and Longford Forest in County Longford, Ireland. Each village is nestled within 350-400 acres of woodland.
- Center Parcs offers weekend, (Friday to Monday) or midweek (Monday to Friday) breaks.