Interview with Frank Daemen on the planned reopening of the German Center Parcs parks

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Interview with Frank Daemen, Managing Director Center Parcs Germany,

for the planned reopening of the parks

Cologne, May 21, 2021. The crown pandemic has presented many companies with unprecedented challenges for months. After the Center Parcs parks had to close for eight months, there is now great joy ahead of the latest developments and measures taken by the government. Due to the mandatory federal emergency brake, parks can now reopen their doors with a stable incidence over seven days of less than 100 per 100,000 inhabitants and in compliance with hygiene and safety measures. During the closure, however, time did not stand still for the European market leader in local tourism. In an interview, Frank Daemen, managing director of Center Parcs Germany, talks about the planned reopening of the parks, the current renovations and new projects, as well as safety and sustainability.

Mr. Daemen, your holiday villages have been closed for a total of eight months. With the latest federal government decisions, parks can reopen with a stable incidence value of 100 per 100,000 inhabitants. Which park will be the first and how are you preparing for the respective reopening?

The situation is still very complex and we constantly monitor the current situation in the respective regions to allow vacationers to spend a carefree holiday with us. As the situation has already greatly improved in many regions where we are represented with a Center Parcs park, we are currently aiming for the following reopening dates: North Sea coast park should be the first park today, the May 21, to open. follow that Bisping Heath, Hochsauerland Park And Eifel Park to the May 28 how Allgäu Park And Bostalsee Park to the 31. May. All guests must also have a negative Corona PCR test – no older than 48 hours – to have recovered from Corona or be fully vaccinated. However, as the incidence situation can change rapidly again and the parks must close again if the value exceeds 100 per 100,000 inhabitants, we ask our guests to inquire about the regional incidence situation before traveling.

When our parks reopen, we are also pursuing an elaborate health concept that guarantees the legal requirements in Germany in terms of hygiene and health protection. The rigorous catalog of measures and certification of our German parks have been checked by SGS INSTITUT FRESENIUS, one of the most important suppliers in Germany for hygienic controls in the hotel and catering sector. The certification period was initially extended to 2021. Furthermore, our staff are always fully trained. The health of our guests and employees is our top priority. Our “all-round carefree offer” also allows travelers to organize their stay flexibly and, if they wish, to rebook their appointment for free up to 21 days before arrival.

Besides the health concept and the preparations mentioned, what else happened to Center Parcs in the parks during the long period of closure?

Summer is upon us and therefore the closing time has been exploited, among other things, to make our guests’ stay even more pleasant. We started a major refurbishment program a few years ago and are investing more than 700 million euros to renovate the main facilities and accommodations of our parks. So far, eight of the 28 holiday villages have been completely renovated and offer our guests an expanded and even more exciting offer. These include Park Hochsauerland and Park Nordseekueste in Germany, Port Zélande, Park Zandvoort and De Eemhof in the Netherlands, and Erperheide, Park De Haan and Center Parcs Les Ardennes in Belgium. Our goal is that eleven more parks are completely renovated by 2023 and that all German parks are completely renovated. Visitors can also better explore the natural wonders surrounding the parks with new Nature Experience activities – from guided hikes and horseback rides to outdoor sports lessons and live outdoor entertainment, there’s something for all tastes.

A central component of the new offering is also the digitization of the guest experience, which offers clear benefits especially in this period of Corona. A digital wristband not only allows guests to access the Aqua Mundo bathing paradise, but also all other activities and facilities in our parks. This offer is already available in Park Allgäu and in the renovated Park Hochsauerland and will soon also be available to guests of the Center Parcs Bispinger Heide, which is also currently undergoing extensive renovations. In this way, we continue to set new standards for an unforgettable, carefree and relaxing holiday.

What advantages do you see in the offer of Center Parcs compared to other suppliers of tourist accommodation, especially in this period of Corona?

The way of traveling is currently undergoing a change. Vacationers are focusing more and more on aspects such as security, privacy and sustainability. With our offer we meet these individual needs in a special way. Our parks are located in rural and spacious areas that vacationers can easily access by car. In our fully equipped holiday homes in the midst of idyllic nature and with a private terrace, guests also enjoy privacy, comfort and a feeling of security as if they were in their own four walls. Vacationers have the opportunity to cook together in the holiday home and let the day end in a relaxed way. Services such as our delivery service and the wide range of outdoor activities also offer an attractive offer and ensure that the necessary social distance is maintained.

With our new strategic plan “Reinvention 2025” we also want to further expand our current focus on local tourism. To this end, we will invest an additional € 258 million in Center Parcs holiday parks over the next five years and create additional leisure and dining options for travelers.

You mentioned the issue of sustainability. What measures are you taking here?

Sustainability is in our DNA and plays a central role in everything we do. We have been ISO 14001 and ISO 50001 certified for many years and were one of the first major tour operators to receive this double certification. Since last year – two years ahead of schedule – all of our parks have also been awarded the Green Key certificate. This is a great recognition for us and underlines our sustainable ambitions, which are reflected, for example, in the minimal use of disposable packaging, energy and water saving equipment in homes and holiday facilities and in the reduction of our waste volumes. Our basic concept is based on the conservation of nature and the environment, true to the motto “Do more well, do less damage”. A wide variety of animal and plant species live in our parks, which receive special protection and intensive care right from the start. Recently, all facilities also have several electric car charging stations, where visitors can recharge their cars with 100% green electricity. Two other parks – and thus now all parks in Germany – are also equipped with a combined heat and power plant and Park Bostalsee is now the first park to benefit from solar power generation through the construction of a photovoltaic system. We offer travelers a holiday offer that is as sustainable as possible, which they can use all year round and with a clear conscience. Furthermore, we have been collaborating successfully with WWF Junior for many years to raise awareness of nature, the environment and sustainable life, especially among our youngest guests. This cooperation is continuously being expanded, so that we will soon be able to tackle further future-oriented projects.

In addition to the renovations already mentioned, Center Parcs is also being expanded. What projects are currently in the pipeline?

For us, the German market is a market in absolute growth. With holiday parks planned in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Central Franconia, we will be adding two resorts to our portfolio in the near future, which have been enjoying increasing popularity in Germany for several years. But we are still looking intensively for possible locations in Thuringia and the Berlin metropolitan area. With our project on the Baltic Sea, it is also important for us not only to build a holiday park, but to develop a unique global tourist destination in collaboration with the city of Ribnitz-Damgarten, which will give further impetus and inspiration to the entire region travelers from all over. the world. As in the other parks, our focus is on a broad and environmentally sustainable offer for vacationers. The Pütnitz peninsula is a very special place with natural habitats that we will integrate into the new holiday park.

With our first holiday village in Denmark and the Terhills Resort in Belgium, we also want to position ourselves more strongly outside of Germany in the future. The Nordborg region, located on the Jutland coast in the Baltic Sea near the German-Danish border, is the ideal location for our Scandinavian debut. Because in addition to guests from Germany and Denmark, travelers from Scandinavian countries such as Norway and Sweden can now expect our range of environmentally friendly and diverse offerings in the immediate vicinity. The premium park in Belgium belongs to the Limburg investment company LRM and is marketed and managed by Center Parcs. It is scheduled to open in the second quarter of 2021. Our goal is to add a total of four more parks in Europe to our portfolio by 2025 – on average this equates to around one new park per year.

Information about Groupe Pierre et Vacances Center Parcs:

Groupe Pierre et Vacances Center Parcs is the European leader in local tourism. It was founded in 1967 and for over 50 years has been developing innovative and environmentally friendly holiday and leisure concepts to offer the most beautiful European destinations by the sea, in the mountains, in the countryside and in cities. With its complementary brands – Pierre & Vacances, Maeva, Center Parcs, Villages Nature Paris, Sunparks and Aparthotels Adagio – Groupe Pierre et Vacances Center Parcs welcomes 8 million customers in a tourism portfolio of nearly 46,000 apartments and holiday homes in 282 locations in Europe. The Group holding company – Pierre et Vacances SA – is listed on the Paris Stock Exchange managed by Euronext. @GroupePVCP

About Center Parcs Europe:

Center Parcs Europe, a subsidiary of the Paris-listed Groupe Pierre & Vacances, Center Parcs, Europe’s largest vacation rental provider, owns the Center Parcs and Sunparks brands. Center Parcs Europe operates 28 holiday villages (26 Center Parcs and two Sunparks resorts) in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and France.

Sabine Huber – Pressereferentin
Groupe Pierre & Vacances /Center Parcs Germany GmbH
Kaltenbornweg 1-3, 50679 Köln
Tel. +49 221 - 97 30 30 – 94
Fax +49 221 - 97 30 30 - 14

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