The new owner of Pontin’s holiday camps says he plans to give the struggling holiday camp chain a “Disney-style” make-over.
Alex Langsam, the owner the Britannia Hotel Group, bought Pontin’s five parks last month for a reported £20m and saved 850 jobs.
He says he wants to reinvent the Pontin’s brand as themed seaside destinations, as part of a £25m relaunch. This will include Disney-style cartoon costumes and attractions.
However, the holiday camp’s famous “Bluecoat” entertainers will remain.
“The bluecoats will stay because if it ain’t broke you don’t fix it.” he said in an interview with The Guardian. “But there will be people dressed up in all sorts of different ways, too.”
Pontins currently operates five camps - Camber Sands in Sussex, Brean Sands in Somerset, Pakefield in Suffolk, Southport on Merseyside and Prestatyn.
Mr Langsam said that he wanted to emulate some of the things that Walt Disney’s resorts are famous for.
“If I go to the Disney site in Florida, I’m back to being a child.”
“It’s the adults that enjoy it as much as the kids.”
The company was started by Fred Pontin in 1946 when he built his first camp on the site of a former US army base.
In its heyday there were 30 parks spanning the country. Many British stars, including Shane Richie and Bobby Davro, got their start in showbusiness as “Bluecoats”.
Fred Pontin sold the company in 1978 and it passed through several owners before falling into administration last November.
Leisure industry experts said it had failed to keep pace with people’s expectations, whereas Butlins saw increased profits after investing heavily in its resorts.