SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Some 160,000 people are living in temporary homes and caravans on run-down holiday parks throughout the Netherlands, the Financieele Dagblad reported on Monday.
The presence of so many people living illegally in holiday accommodation is making it difficult to draw up a national plan of action to boost holiday park standards and reduce crime and illegality, the paper said.
Tens of holiday parks are on the list to be closed down. ‘Demolition is unavoidable,’ Cees Slager, chairman of the holiday industry lobby group Recron said. ‘You can chase the people living there away, but you have to ask where they will go?’
Migrant workers from eastern European and refugees are among the population groups which live temporarily on holiday parks. ‘Local authorities don’t know know what to do with them, so they approach the park owners,’ Slager said.
‘This means they can make more money and delay the closure for years.’
Research by ZKA Leisure Consultants for the FD found that 34% of holiday villages are of too low quality to survive – that means 1,500 holiday parks nationwide do not meet today’s standards.
Changing holiday habits and the rise of cheap package holidays abroad have also hit the sector hard and banks are no longer willing to finance improvements, Slager told the paper.
The home affairs ministry is holding a summit on the problem later this month. (DutchNews)