As the UK heads towards the annual Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show at Birmingham’s NEC from 21 to 26 February 2017, just under four out of ten UK adults had experience of camping or caravanning in the past three years according to a Mintel report.
We love our little camping getaways and were gutted to miss out on our last camping trip of the year in 2016 due to Mark’s illness, but the fabulous owner of our favourite campsite, Dunston Hill in Haverfordwest, gave us accommodation in their B&B instead so we didn’t miss out altogether.
It seems we aren’t alone.
A total of over 17 million camping and caravanning trips are estimated to have been taken by UK adults in 2016, over 15 million of which were in Great Britain, and include a spectrum of accommodation options from yurts, safari tents and shepherd’s huts to tiny two-berth mini and large luxury caravans, sophisticated motorhomes and holiday lodges.
The total trips taken figure is expected to rise to 17.9 million in 2017 and to over 21 million in 2020, and Mintel forecasts Great Britain’s camping and caravanning market will be worth over £3.2 billion by 2020.
Of those camping in a tent in the last three years, ‘getting away from it all’ is one of the key attractions (42%) as well as ‘connecting with nature’ (41%).
Despite the need to ‘get away’ we Brits seem addicted to tech. Campsite owners should note that only 14% overall of those camping would welcome the opportunity to be disconnected from technology with no WiFi or internet, although surprisingly 32% of music festival campers claimed they would welcome the lack of connection! Mark and I carry a MiFi tab with us (we affectionately call it our pocket router!) and we seem to get a good signal on the Three network (5 bars in Dunston Hill and at our other favourite spot in Carmarthen)
It seems lots of our fellow campers plan to spend money this year. 16% of respondents plan to buy a tent from 2016 onwards, 9% a towed caravan, 12% a motorhome or campervan, and 10% a static caravan or mobile home.
Motorhomes are seen as adventurous and fun, comfortable and family-friendly, with secure, spacious, high quality accommodation. A multi-destination European trip attracted 55%, while 34% would aim for a North America tour and 37% would use a motorhome to see a sports event.
Market drivers for camping, caravanning and motorhomes trips in recent years include a reduction in petrol prices and a desire for families to reconnect with their environment. A report published by The Wildlife Trust** found that children have become increasingly separated from nature, highlighting that fewer than 10% of children play in natural areas, with 78% of parents concerned their children don’t spend enough time interacting with nature and wildlife.
The government’s Climate Change Risk Assessment report 2012 (produced every five years) predicts that future climate change is likely to improve the appeal of the UK as a holiday destination for both UK and overseas visitors with increased summer temperatures and a longer summer season.
The NCC (National Caravan Council), the event arm of which runs the Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show, estimates in the UK at present there are approximately 550,000 touring caravans, more than 205,000 motorhomes and 330,000 static caravan holiday homes in use, totalling over one million leisure vehicles.
From Tuesday 21 to Sunday 26 February the Birmingham NEC will be home to the Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show 2017, with over 350 leading leisure brands exhibiting caravans, motorhomes, campervans, trailer tents, folding campers, tents, caravan holiday homes, camping equipment and accessories.
This year’s show has plenty of free, have-a-go features including an indoor children’s assault course and mobile climbing mountain. A towing and manoeuvring skills area offers expert tuition for those new to caravanning and motorhome holidays as well as those who want to brush up on their techniques. For pet lovers there is the much-loved dog agility arena.
Throughout the six days of the show the Discovery Theatre plays host to celebrity guests including Countryfile, and more recently New Lives in the Wild presenter, Ben Fogle; Kate Humble and Julia Bradbury discussing their love of the great outdoors; celebrity chefs including baker Selasi Gbormittah performing live cooking demonstrations; and the professionals sharing their top tips on owning leisure vehicles and camping holidays. New for 2017 are bushcraft workshops where visitors can learn essential survival skills.
Advance ticket prices are from £7.00 per person and children 15 and under enter free. Tickets are on sale now and can be ordered online: http://www.ccmshow.co.uk/