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£9.3bn a year spent by UK caravanners and campers

It seems that caravanning and camping has never been more popular – it has certainly grown into a multi-million pound industry that is a pillar of the British tourism industry.

A recent comprehensive study by the UK Caravan and Camping Alliance (UKCCA), published in February, reveals that visitors to Britain’s many campsites and holiday parks spend more than £9.3bn a year, contributing a sizeable 8% to the tourism industry’s total Gross Value Added (GVA), and providing jobs for an estimated 171,448 full-time equivalent jobs.

The survey included all those who stayed on campsites and holiday parks in the UK – whether as caravanners, campervanners, motorhomers, campers or those who used rented static caravans, holiday lodges, pods, cabins or other holiday homes, together with those who owned their own holiday home.

The latest statistics produced by the National Caravan Council estimate there to be 555,000 touring caravans in the UK, 225,000 motorhomes, and 365,000 (static) caravan holiday homes (i.e. not including cabins, lodges and other leisure homes).

Reasons for camping

The UKCCA study delved further into our love affair with the caravan – both touring and static varieties – by asking those surveyed why they were staying at a particular site or holiday park:

  • more than a half (57%) said that they wanted to visit or revisit the area;
  • a further 13% said they were familiar with the region, but wanted to visit a different area within it;
  • 11% said they had friends or relatives in the area;
  • a further 33% said the site had been recommended by friends or relatives, an advertisement online or a magazine, or through their caravanning or camping club;
  • some 7% were attracted to the availability of specific activities in the area. And
  • 6% were attending an event or festival nearby.

The overwhelming majority (92%) of visitors said they felt less stressed when caravanning or camping, 88% said they felt more relaxed and 87% said they felt happier.

Activities

What do people do on a caravanning or camping holiday?

The answers given my visitors may help to underline the pleasure gained in simply being outdoors – whether exercising or doing very little at all:

  • 64%, for example, said they spent their time just relaxing;
  • 55% said that they took short walks – of less than 2 miles;
  • 50% enjoyed spending the time with friends and relations;
  • 36% engaged in nature or wildlife activities;
  • 29% took themselves off on longer walks or hikes – or more than 2 miles;
  • 28% engaged in other physical activities; while
  • 19% went cycling.

Prospects

The report also predicts the continued growth of this sector of the tourism industry. From now until well into 2025, an annual rate of growth of 3.8% is forecast – which is greater than the UK economy as a whole and faster than other sectors such as retail, construction and manufacturing.

The UKCCA study revealed a strong and increasingly important foreign interest in caravanning and camping holidays in Britain – with expenditure from this quarter growing by around 6% a year and increasing in value from £21bn in 2013 to £57bn by 2025.