Tribune de Genève


Across the continent, there are currently two million vehicles in circulation. The phenomenon exploded from the deconfinement and the reestablishment of free ciculation.

The motorhome phenomenon is likely to last after the crisis.

AFP

The pandemic and the new standards of social distancing have profoundly changed the summer vacation. According to a recent survey, 90% of Spaniards plan to pass them in their country and 83% plan to use their car rather than public transport.

Fabrizio Muzzati, boss of the specialized Spanish travel agency Aquiestoy Caravaning, assures us that many people who had never thought of spending their holidays in a motorhome are now considering it. “The whole world is looking for a feeling of security. A lot of people will try, given the circumstances, ”he says.

In fact, rentals resumed “intensively” when free movement was restored in June, said the Spanish association of mobile homes and motorhomes ASEICAR.

Two million in Europe

And the phenomenon can be observed well beyond Spain. “Since deconfinement, there has been a real craze for motorhomes everywhere,” rejoices François Feuillet, president of the European Motorhome Federation (ECF). “The motorhome is freedom, savings and ecology. Now, we can add health security, and that, for us, is blessed bread, ”he says.

Across Europe, there are currently five million users and two million vehicles in circulation, according to figures provided by the industry. In Germany, the main market in Europe, more than 10,000 new motorhomes were registered in May, an increase of 32% year on year, while France saw 3,529 new registrations, an increase of almost 2% .

In Spain – a much smaller but growing market – 1,208 new vehicles were registered in June, a 20% jump over one year, according to ASEICAR.

And the demand is also on the rise for rentals. Yescapa, a peer-to-peer rental platform, recorded more than 32,500 bookings across Europe last month, and requests for July and August are 60% higher than in the same period of 2019.

National tourism boom

Despite the reopening of European borders in June, many summer visitors do not want to leave their country, underlines Benoît Panel, co-founder of Yescapa. “Since the Covid,” he says, “there has hardly been any + booking cross +” rentals, that is to say travelers booking a vehicle outside their country of origin, which usually constitute 20% of reservations.

A trend confirmed by Julio Barrenengoa Gomez, director of Caravanas Holidays. “People tended to want a motorhome to go traveling to Europe, but this year they want to stay in Spain,” he notes.

This is the case of Jose Pascal Guiral, who rented a motorhome for the first time this year after the end of confinement, to go to the Spanish Pyrenees, when he usually spends his holidays abroad. “It’s so much nicer than taking a plane or booking a hotel, it gives a real feeling of freedom. You are going away for a week and you have the impression that you have been on vacation for a month, ”says the manager of a ceramics exporting company.

Others also believe that the Covid crisis will accelerate the disaffection for mass tourism. “This pandemic will change people’s habits because they will be less willing to frequent crowded places,” said Fernando Ortiz, director of Benimar, Spain’s main motorhome brand. “Not just because of the risk – we will eventually find a vaccine – but because people like to be able to change their plans at any moment while traveling. And it will probably last ”.

AFP/NXP

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