There have been 43 caravans and campervans stolen across the country over the past 18 months – 13 of them since lockdown began in March. Meath and Tipperary have had the highest number of thefts, with stolen vehicles ranging in value from €1,000 to €30,000.
It comes as holidaymakers are encouraged to avoid non-essential travel and spend the summer at home this year due to the Covid-19 crisis.
Caravan/campervan owners, pls remember to #ParkSmart
Take extra security measures following a cluster of thefts - 13 stolen since March.
With ‘staycations’ expected to rise, & more people using caravans/campervans, there is a need to be extra vigilant with their security. pic.twitter.com/MqVnhqgCrX
— Garda Info (@gardainfo) July 22, 2020
Though a surge in domestic tourism and caravanning has been expected, caravan park owners say Irish holidaymakers remain cautious.
Moira Fleming of Fleming’s White Bridge Killarney Holiday Park in Co Kerry says reopening was subdued:
We opened on 29th of June, it was very slow to start initially. People were saying ‘oh, caravan parks will be packed,’ no they’re not... people were very cautious. It wasn’t a bit like that.
With capacity for 92 pitches on the site, Ms Fleming says it remains far from full: “If it was a normal situation, I could close down my third section... but we just think it’s safer to distance them out so we’re using all our park.”
She says guests at the campsite are currently “100 per cent Irish” with visitors from the Republic and the North not making up for the lack of international tourists: "They support it well during the weekends, but from Monday to Thursday it’s quieter, definitely. You’re not going to get up to our international touring traffic in Ireland for two weeks touring around because, I mean people have to work.”
“It’s the ideal holiday during this period, you have plenty of space, fresh air, you have your own facilities... I mean it is a safer type of holiday for this year.”
“People are cautious but I think people want to get away"
In popular holiday spot Tramore, Co Waterford, Alec Fitzmaurice of Fitzmaurice’s Caravan and Camping Park says “people are kind of beginning to discover Ireland again” with mobile homes for hire at the park fully booked until August 22nd.
Though numbers at the park remain at a similar level to previous years due to the fact it typically relies on visitors from Ireland, Mr Fitzmaurice believes more people are investing in caravans for future holidays at home.
“We were due to actually open on the 20th of July, but luckily we were able to reopen on the 29th of June, so there was a lot of work and preparation getting the park ready. The phones were very busy when the government announced that we were to reopen on the 29th.”
“People are cautious but I think people want to get away... they’ve been at home for so long they’ve been kind of trapped in their own locality for a long time – they want to see the beach.”