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Glamping – Camping at its best

Camping has never looked so good. More comforts than home, luxurious furnishings in beautiful surroundings with plenty to keep the children happy and a fridge to cool the wine. It definitely is time to take a new look at camping and many accommodation providers have done just that.
Glamping or upmarket camping is certainly experiencing a boom, becoming more wide spread and more varied.  With everyone looking for value for money holidays, combined with staying closer to home and a better awareness of environmental issues encouraging us to get back to nature, camping has become a great solution that ticks all the boxes. It seems to fit the times we live in, highlighting the key elements of a successful holiday – scenic location, a bit of luxury, a bit of adventure but without being too cost prohibitive.

It is not surprising then that according to the Visit England UK Tourism Survey, between 2006 and 2009, the AB category participating in Camping and Caravanning holidays, grew from the smallest customer segment to the second largest. Camping has moved up in the fashion stakes.

In 2009, UK residents took 18m camping and caravanning trips, spending £2.5bn during their trips, according to the UKTS Visit England Tourism Survey. By contrast, they made 10m visits to Spain. In 2009, camping and caravanning trips by UK residents grew by 20%, ahead of overall domestic holiday growth of 17% (UKTS).

In the UK there are is a whole host of options under the heading Glamping – which seems to have moved up another level to encompass the likes of Iron Age Roundhouses in Cornwall, yurts, safari-style tents complete with oven and fridge, Ekopods, wigwams, tipis and authentic gypsy caravans. Celebrities have helped to make camping ‘cool’ as various A rated stars are spotted on camping holidays and designer brands are producing ranges of retro-chic glamping accessories to make things look like magazine shoots.

Holland is also seeing an upsurge in Glamping holidays which has been reflected in the offering at this year’s Vakantiebeurs Travel Fair, held in Utrecht. “We have definitely noticed an increase in exhibitors offering this type of product at Vakantiebeurs this year, it is becoming increasing popular as a holiday option in Holland – especially in the de Waddeneilanden region. Suncamp are one of the better known operators offering upmarket camping in Holland and are very active in the sector of luxury camping,” says Dagmar Ypenberg-Moonen, exhibition manager.

Although up market camping has been on the horizon for a while now in the UK market, this is not necessarily so in all European markets. Portugal, Spain and France have a good range of locations to offer but Northern Europe is not yet as active. Per Magnusson, Exhibition Manager for TUR in Sweden, says the trend is still very new in Sweden but he expects to see it grow in importance on the exhibitor listing in the near future.

If you want to find out more about what is on offer around the world, Goglamping.net is probably the leading source on luxury camping, where you can find details on a range of stunning holiday options in countries from Cambodia to Chile. The directory lists venues by location or type and gives a short description of each, listing key features along with prices and a direct website link. In Goa, a hybrid tent-house, known as a ‘touse’ can cost from Euro 450 per week and in contrast The Resort at Paws Up, Montana, USA offers the ultimate in glamping, luxurious tents complete with camp butler at $715 per night for two.

It may be taking a while to reach some countries but the time is ripe for glamorous camping and there is opportunity for hotel chains and accommodation providers to add an outdoor option to their portfolio. Countries such as those in the Middle East, where families enjoy nights under the stars in the cooler months, are perfect locations and destinations such as Dubai are already known for their upmarket hotels and luxury lifestyles. The Al Maha Rseort, which opened in 1999 was the first eco-tourism project to open in the Arabian Gulf but the time may now be right for hoteliers to take that next step and offer similar luxury under canvas.

Camping may not be for everyone but it is most definitely not the arduous, second rate holiday option that it once was. The opportunity to experience being at one with nature whilst still having all the comforts of a perfect hotel and in amazing surroundings, has to be high on the list of must have holidays.

TUR and Vakantiebeurs are members of ITTFA, International Tourism Trade Fairs Association, which represents key travel events around the world. For more information on ITTFA and all our members, please visit www.ittfa.org or email us on secretariat@ittfa.org

12/07/2024
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