Last summer’s glorious sunny weather, the improving economy and the total freedom offered by owning a caravan or motorhome are fuelling a record start to the year for a business with a base in Stourport-on-Severn.

Salop Leisure’s chairman Tony Bywater has welcomed the return of a feel good factor as families and couples seek to make the most of their quality time together.

Having been involved in the caravan industry for nearly half a century, he’s seen many peaks and troughs in the market. But the renewed enthusiasm of customers in the first two months of this year has convinced him that the company and the UK tourism industry in general is in for a bumper holiday season.

“The word that I keep hearing from customers, both young and old, is freedom,” he said. “They are investing in touring caravans, motorhomes and caravan holiday homes because they offer them total freedom to get away for a break or holiday anytime and anywhere they wish.

“They are also seeking value for money. A caravan or motorhome is an investment that can be used for years to come, whereas all you have to show for a holiday abroad is a suntan that will soon fade and a few photographs.

“Our customer research has shown that young families, in particular, are working harder than ever and they want to spend quality time together at weekends and during holidays. They like the fact that caravanning gets children out in the countryside enjoying the fresh air and away from the television and computer games.

“We are also finding that grandparents, as well as parents, are increasingly taking advantage of caravan holiday homes. People of all ages like to escape the pressures of work at the weekend and then return refreshed, recharged and ready to start a new week.”

Mr Bywater said the traditional reopening of caravan holiday home parks on March 1 had seen unprecedented demand, particularly in Mid Wales. Park owners across the region had reported a big influx of caravanners keen to use their caravans again.

The reopening of holiday home parks was good news for the local economy where they are situated, as caravanners support a host of businesses during their stay, he added.

Salop Leisure also has sales centres in Shrewsbury and Machynlleth and promotes more than 200 caravan parks across the Heart of England and Mid Wales.

The company is preparing to host the West Midlands Caravan and Motorhome Spring Show in Shrewsbury from April 25 to May 5, which will see the launch of the Swift Group’s new touring caravans using the SMART intelligent construction system.

SMART is based on proven technology and provides a strong timberless body frame with modern, desirable looks and a leading aerodynamic shape that is highly resilient to moisture, all wrapped up in a caravan that has undergone the most comprehensive testing.