Page last updated at 17:28 GMT, Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Pontin's to create 2,000 new jobs

Pontin's chairman Graham Parr is upbeat on the company's future

Holiday camp company Pontin's has said it will invest 50m in redeveloping its holiday centres, creating 2,000 new jobs in the process.

Ocean Parcs, which owns Pontin's, said bookings for half term, Easter and Summer 2009 were "significantly up".

Pontin's, famous for its Bluecoats entertainers, currently operates six centres in the UK. The investment will be used to refurbish or rebuild them.

The Pakefield Holiday Centre in Suffolk will double in size and capacity.

Part of the investment will also go towards launching a restyled entertainment programme.

Ian Smith, Oceans Parcs chief executive, said: "It is particularly rewarding to be able to announce these plans which will not only generate increased tourism but create over 2,000 new jobs whilst the country is in a recession."

New owners

Executive chairman Graham Parr is a former Pontin's chief executive. Oceans Parc bought Pontin's in March last year for 46m.

PONTIN'S HOLIDAY CENTRES
Pontin's sign, Camber Sands
Brean Sands, Somerset
Camber Sands, Sussex
Prestatyn Sands, north Wales
Southport, Ainsdale Beach
Blackpool, Lancashire
Pakefield, Suffolk

Prior to that the company had changed hands a number of times. It was sold to betting company Coral in 1978. Entrepreneur Trevor Hemmings then bought it, sold it to brewer Scottish and Newcastle, before buying it back in 2000.

Pontin's was set up to offer holidaymakers a low-cost break. It provides self-catering and half-board accommodation.

It now operates in six seaside locations - Brean Sands in Somerset, Camber Sands in Sussex, Pakefield in Suffolk, Blackpool, Southport Ainsdale Beach, and Prestatyn Sands in north Wales.

At its peak in the 1960s and 1970s Pontin's had 24 camps, but that number has shrunk as more and more people started holidaying abroad.

'Fantastic opportunities'

However, according to experts, the current economic climate, and the weak pound, means we are now seeing a reversal of that trend.

"There will be a substantial switch this year from overseas holidays to UK holidays and that is obviously what Pontin's is tapping into," commented Simon Calder, travel editor for the Independent newspaper.

"British tourism this summer has fantastic opportunities," he added.



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