Boat rentals and caravan salespeople profiting from pandemic restrictions
While hotels owners are fighting for survival, boat rentals and caravan salespeople have seen a huge upsurge in business in recent months. People eager to make plans for the summer, and worried about travel restrictions and closed hotels, are opting for a holiday on a boat or in their own caravan.
Boat rentals are doing big business the world over, driven by the uncertainty surrounding air travel, as well as the idea of a boat as a safe place to spend a vacation. A few days or weeks out on the water brings a sense of freedom, few restrictions and no problems with social distancing.
The largest European portal Boataround, active in 71 countries, has reported a 200 percent increase in bookings. And a survey of the clients who have been calling in shows that Czechs are currently the fifth most active nation in the world in renting out yachts, after Germans, Austrians, Italians and British nationals.
Czechs either rent out a boat for Lipno lake or Slapy –two very popular domestic holiday sites - or some of the best-selling foreign destinations in Croatia (Central Dalmatia or Zadar), in Greece ( Kefalonia) or in the north of Italy (Genoa, Elba Island, Cinque Terre).
Croatia remains a hot favourite. Czechs traditionally drive to the seaside by car and they are banking on open borders for holiday makers in the summer. Surveys suggest that most Czechs plan to spend their holidays on the Continent, and interest in the Caribbean, Seychelles, Thailand and other exotic areas is currently declining or stagnating.
Yacht owners are making the most of the trend. Given the pandemic they provide accommodating cancellation conditions or reduced deposits. Some rentiers have stopped demanding a deposit altogether.
Companies selling caravans, motorhomes and camping trailers likewise report a 200 percent increase in demand saying that orders for delivery in 2021 were closed at the end of September 2020.
Motorhomes cost from one to one and a half million crowns, caravans on average around half a million, so it is not a small investment, but it gives people a sense of security in the knowledge that they can travel freely and safely to a wide range of destinations at short notice.
And in a related development, interest in the sale or rent of country cottages has gone through the roof as well, as Czechs look for an alternative to travel, not just for the holidays but to get out of the city on weekends.