Dutch campsite offers bad weather refund

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A Dutch campsite has come up with a novel way to attract customers in this unseasonally cold and wet summer: a free stay should the average temperature drop below 20 degrees Celsus.

Following a hot and dry spring, summer temperatures have plummeted and July was colder and twice as wet as usual, the country's meteorological institute said.

"We want to state it loud and clear: rain does not have to stand in your way to enjoy a fantastic holiday," said Sylvia Jansen, campsite manager at the Hooge Veluwe Dream Park, some 87 kilometres (54 miles) southeast of Amsterdam.

"We were tired of hearing on television and reading in the papers that the weather is too miserable to camp this summer. We wanted to refute the idea," she told AFP of the special offer that opened Monday and will run to August 20.

For each day of the campaign, camp management will record the temperature at 2:00 pm (1200 GMT) and enter the number on a notice board at the reception.

When campers leave the site, an average daytime temperature for the duration of their stay will be calculated.

"If it's below 20 degrees (68 degrees Fahrenheit), you stay for free," Jansen said.

To qualify for the "bad weather camp refund" one has to stay at the park for at least five consecutive days.

The occupation rate at the camping ground in the Veluwe, one of the southeast Netherlands' most scenic areas, was currently at 80 percent and Jansen said the promotional campaign was starting to pay off.

"People are responding with great enthusiasm and reservations are starting to arrive," she said.

© 2011 AFP

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