Monday 4 August 2008

Camping Boom as credit crunch intensifies

The following article is courtesy of Ellen Widdup, Evening Standard - 10 July 2008:

"Holidays under canvas or in caravans are making a comeback thanks to the credit crunch. Sales of camping equipment - including sleeping bags, picnic hampers, torches and paraffin stoves - are on the increase, with major retailers reporting rises of up to 40% in the past year.

Charlotte Tookey, senior marketing manager for Tesco Direct, which has seen a 38% rise in camping equipment sales since July 2007, put the surge down to the financial squeeze, which is forcing families to consider alternatives to holidays abroad. 'Summer camping trips are a great British tradition, so it is wonderful to see that more holidaymakers are choosing to go camping this year,' she said. 'For families feeling the pinch, camping can be an affordable solution.'

Last month Canvas Holidays said it had seen a 20% rise in bookings between May and June. One of Britain's biggest caravan break companies, Haven Holidays, has also reported a 30% rise in bookings. The National Caravan Council recorded a 20% rise in campsite bookings for July and August and a rise in the number of people purchasing caravans. Its spokesman said many people were choosing to camp because it gave them a sense of adventure and reminded them of childhood holidays.

Environmental concerns about aircraft emissions are also contributing to the camping renaissance, but price is thought to be the main factor. A two-week holiday in Malaga could cost a family of four up to £3,000 for travel, accommodation and transfers. By contrast, camping in Devon would set the same family back around £17 per night - a total of £242 plus travel costs for two weeks.

Most campsites charge roughly £15 a night for a caravan, £1 for power and water and 50p to put up an awning. Tent-dwellers are charged about £5 a pitch per day, plus another £3 per adult and £1 per child.

Ian Peet, from holiday specialist Go Camping UK said it was a sensible choice for those who wanted to get away without breaking the bank. 'Everyone is tightening their budgets so it appears there is no better time to get back to nature and discover the joys of camping.'

Some of Britain's grandest estates also welcome campers. In Norfolk, the Queen's Sandringham Estate and Holkham Hall, the home of Viscount Coke, both run caravan parks, as does Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, the seat of the Duke of Devonshire.

A spokesman for the Cool Camping guidebook said these destinations were among many now offering a range of high-end camping holidays. One of the most expensive 'boutique' campsites in Britain is Glastonbury's Camp Kerala, which charges £7,000 to stay in a shikar tent - kitted out with a double mattress, fur throws and down duvets - to the likes of Kate Moss during the festival".

Image above: Hayfield Camping & Caravaning Club Site, Peak District Copyright 2008



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