I’m Enrico Olivieri, partner and Director of Le Palme Camping, located in Pacengo di Lazise, on Lake Garda and this is our story of the past few months.
What has it been like on your site during lockdown?
Our campsite usually opens before Easter and closes early November. This year we could not reopen until the 15 June, after a very difficult period for everyone. For our 2020 season we had decided to renovate the old bungalows by replacing them with brand new chalets. As soon as the campsite was closed, we planned and started our work, aware that we had a few months ahead to finish everything. Unfortunately, in March we had to stop all our work because it was no longer allowed due to the Coronavirus. Then we started getting a lot of cancellations and morale was low because we didn’t know if and when we could reopen.
The months passed, no requests or bookings came, the worried seasonal employees asked for news. And every month the volume of news was at times overwhelming, confusing and different, and the Ministerial Decrees changed continuously. Then gradually the situation improved, until finally in May they announced that we could reopen! Our construction companies worked continuously to finish the renovations and new buildings, the customers started writing again to ask how the situation was and slowly campers have started to book again.
What are you excited about sharing with guests again?
It will certainly not be a season comparable to the previous ones, but there is a great desire to start again and work and fortunately our planner is filling up again with reservations.
We look forward to introducing our new chalets to guests and seeing this beautiful area of Lake Garda once again populated with tourists.
How different will camping be this Summer?
We followed all the Covid-19 instructions to make customers spend a safe but carefree holiday. All camping services will be operational: bar, restaurant as well as swimming pools with slides. The camping accommodations and toilets will be sanitized as per standards, the staff have all been trained to maintain a standard in accordance with the laws and everything is ready for a season that we hope will be as beautiful as ever.
What is the feeling locally about having guests again?
Little by little all the hotels and campsites in the area are reopening and the streets and villages full of people are beginning to be seen. This certainly is giving everyone the right energy to start over again!
The fear shared by many operators was that tourists would have preferred other destinations for this 2020 season, but then we were reminded and reassured by the words of our loyal customers that Lake Garda is a magical place. It still has everything to offer that it always had, it is easily accessible, a few steps from the sea, from the mountains and beautiful cities of art such as Verona, Venice, Mantua, Milan. There is so much to do here: strolling, bike rides, food and wine tours, relaxation, boat trips and shopping. And we have a great climate even into autumn and therefore the season here is much longer than in other holiday places.
Now we are full, and after going for many months during which we have not worked, we have a great desire to get going and do well and to see our guests happy. We are already booking for 2021 so we just have to cross our fingers 😊
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