Caravan exhibition pulls in the crowds
THOUSANDS of visitors have descended on Cottingham to sneak a peek at the latest caravans and holiday homes on the market.
More than 23,000 caravan enthusiasts headed to the annual Lawns Extravaganza at the weekend, with further visitors travelling to East Yorkshire for the mid-week trade show.
The public event, which took place on Saturday and Sunday, is now the largest caravan exhibition of its kind in the UK and features manufacturers and suppliers from across the country.
Members of the public then gave way to holiday park owners, dealerships and trade visitors, who visited the East Riding village from Tuesday onwards for the internationally renowned trade show.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
This year marked the last event before a 5 per cent tax is added to static caravans.
David Ritchie, managing director of Teamwork Professionals Ltd, has been organising the event for more than 20 years.
He said: "The industry worked very hard to fight against the proposed tax hike, and bringing this down to 5 per cent from next April as opposed to 20 per cent now is seen as a compromise it can live with.
"That said, it will reduce demand.
"Why the Government proposed it in the first place, while claiming to want to grow the economy, is inexplicable."
Speaking about the weekend's Extravaganza, Mr Ritchie said: "There has been a good response to the weekend. The numbers were slightly down on last year, however that was a record attendance.
"Business has certainly been tough because we are in tough times. However, one or two of the local manufacturers say they exceeded their sales targets for the weekend, which is good."
The trade show was first held in Cottingham in 1976, with the public event launched six years later.
Mr Ritchie said: "The extravaganza has continued to grow.
"There has been much talk of 'staycations' in recent years, but the fact is many people buy caravans to put on holiday parks in Europe.
"I think British caravans are certainly the best- designed and the best-made in the world, and this year we have welcomed visitors from across Europe, including Germany, Scandinavia, Holland, France and more – the girl on reception speaks five languages and she has certainly used them all so far."
With one day of the event still to go, manufacturers say it is too early to say how well trade has been.
However, a number of companies have reported an uplift.
Peter Nevitt, managing directory of Victory Leisure Homes in Gilberdyke, said: "It is too early to quantify the results of the show, but there has been a good uplift in business this year.
"Our new models, in particular Evron Lodge, have all done very well.
"In the past couple of years, the holiday park owners have been selling off second-hand stock, meaning they are now having to buy new stock, which is great for business.
"The signs are that 2013 has the makings of a good year."
Paul Coombs, director at Arronbrook Leisure Homes, in Hedon Road, east Hull, said: "Our usual customers have come and looked around our new models and they've been very happy with our caravans and we have taken plenty of orders.
"But, for some reason, lots of the owners of caravan sites who have come in past years just haven't come this year.
"Whether that's because they don't have the customers, so they don't think it's worth coming, I don't know.
"But we're remaining positive, and approaching next year with confidence nonetheless."