Growing Love of Outdoors Gives Rise to Camping Fever
Submitted by: Andrew Adams
(OPENPRESS) April 19, 2011 -- Research* by cycling and leisure retailer Halfords reveals the surge in popularity of camping over the last two years shows no sign of slowing.
Extra days off this month and in May, generated by a late Easter, the Royal Wedding and multiple bank holidays, have prompted a rush of bookings for camping and caravan sites, with many workers planning short breaks in the UK rather than going abroad.
Normally 2.5 million Brits jet off for Easter*, but this year bookings for foreign travel are dramatically down, with less than one million planning to head for the Costas. This compares with 5.7 million who are due to holiday in the UK, 20 % of them (1.15m) under canvas.
Spending cutbacks and the threat of strikes has put people off travelling overseas, with 25% saying they had decided against the foreign holiday this year.
Only 20% said they would definitely head abroad for the sun, while over one in three, 35%, said they would be holidaying in the UK. 18% said they couldn't afford a holiday while the remaining 27% were waiting for late deals or were yet to make their mind up.
The Camping and Caravanning Club reports a rise in advance bookings of 12% and a 25% rise in caravan and camping bookings for the next four weeks, compared to this time last year. Some campsites are already displaying "full" notices.
Halfords has seen growth in sales of camping equipment in the last few years. Cool boxes, tent packs, cycle carriers, roof boxes and pop up tents have all become increasingly popular in line with the trend to holidaying in the UK.
Halfords Camping Expert Paul Fensome said: "Customers tell us that camping is now a regular part of their holiday plans. They want great equipment at competitive prices - so they can enjoy the break without breaking the bank.
"Camping also adds to the amount of gear to transport so we are advising customers on the best travel solutions, like roof boxes and helping them choose the right one and fitting it for them."
The start of this year's camping fever comes only weeks after the government's new tourism strategy was announced, aiming to encourage growth of domestic breaks from the current 20% of all longer-stay trips (four nights or more) to 29%
Robert Louden, Director General of the Camping and Caravanning Club said: "Holidaying in Britain is more attractive than ever, with camping in particular allowing families to drop their stressful day-to-day routine and spend some quality time together.
"I think a lot of people are looking to make the most of the break by taking off the three days between bank holidays and our site bookings are reflecting this trend."
Figures from the Office of National Statistics shows the number of Britons taking holidays abroad has declined by the equivalent of 26% over the last two years as the "staycation" trend booms.
A total of 5.43 million camping trips were made last year, up 20% on the year before. The predicted hot summer, said by the Met Office to be the sunniest since 1976, is expected to send the figure much higher, possibly to over six million.
Notes to Editors:
*One Poll online survey of 2000 respondents
The Camping and Caravanning Club is the largest camping club in the world with more than half-a-million members and 109 sites throughout the UK. Through partnership with the Forestry Commission, the club now also runs a further 20 Forest Holidays Caravan & Camping Touring Sites.
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The Group is the UK's leading retailer of automotive, leisure and cycling products and through Halfords Autocentres is also the UK's leading independent car servicing and repair operator.
Halfords employs approximately 11,000 staff and sells over 12,000 different product lines with significant ranges in car parts, cycles, in-car technology, child seats, roof boxes, outdoor leisure and camping equipment. Halfords own brands include the in-store Bikehut department, for cycles and cycling accessories, Apollo and Carrera cycles and exclusive UK distribution rights of the premium ranged Boardman cycles and accessories. In outdoor leisure, we sell a premium range of camping equipment, branded URBAN Escape. Halfords offers customers expert advice and a fitting service called "wefit" for car parts, child seats, satellite navigation and in-car entertainment systems, and a "werepair" service for cycles.