Tourism. Five reasons why camping continues to appeal to vacationers

Tourism.  Five reasons why camping continues to appeal to vacationers

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They have the reputation of being family-friendly, synonymous with freedom and simplicity: the campsites continue to attract French and foreign tourists alike, even more so in this period of inflation, where savings are essential for many households. THE outdoor hospitality sector has also recorded record figures for 2023, with 141 million nights recorded in French campsites. “This is 4.4% more than in 2022, which was already a record, and +9.3% more than in 2019, the reference year for tourism, before the Covid-19 pandemic”, congratulates Nicolas Dayot, president of the National Outdoor Hotel Federation (FNHPA) and campsite operator in Brittany.

Very good results which can be explained in part by the return of foreign customers, representing 30% of total campsite attendance. Among the most loyal, the “local Europeans”: the Dutch, Germans, Belgians and English represented 82% of foreign customers.

1/An economical solution

But French tourists are not left out and have a very good image of the campsite. According to a study carried out by OpinionWay for the FNHPA, for 85% of French people, it is a friendly way of vacationing. But above all, camping is an interesting financial alternative and a solution for being able to go on vacation, even at a lower cost. 83% of campers surveyed believe that this mode of accommodation allows them to continue going on vacation despite the drop in their purchasing power. One in two campers cite value for money (46%) as their first criterion, ahead of proximity to nature (27%). A method also popular with families: 88% of campers believe that camping allows them to go with a large number of people at a reasonable price.

2/An all-inclusive offer

Beyond the price, several reasons explain this enthusiasm for outdoor accommodation. The appearance all inclusive, comfort and equipment also appeal to the French. “Camping remains the means of accommodation that allows families to go on vacation thanks to an all-inclusive offer with a controlled budget and attracts new customers who have never been to the campsite before. These are places with activities, swimming pool, lake or access to the sea, in which children are safe,” notes Nicolas Dayot.

3/More luxurious campsites

But above all, camping has continued to diversify in recent decades and has moved upmarket. Four and five star campsites, representing 20.7% of the total number of establishments in France, increased by 6% in number of nights in 2023. Comfortable mobile homes, luxury cabins or campsites offering experiences: nights unusual, themed stays, etc. “There is a phenomenon of moving upmarket which attracts customers who did not frequent campsites before and appreciate the facilities,” adds the president of the FNHPA.

4/A right to disconnect

Even if rental accommodation remains favored, “bare” pitches, on which you pitch a tent, park a caravan or a camper van, have not said their last word. They represent 51% of the offer and 45% of overnight stays, favored by European tourists, accustomed to this mode of accommodation, by vacationers in vans, who are increasingly numerous, and by French people paying attention to their budget. “Today, it is no longer just an economical means, it is also a vacation of adventure and disconnection”, however, would like to point out Jean-Guy Amat, president of the National Executive Committee of Channels and Groups. of campsites and operator of a 5-star campsite in Hérault.

5/A wide variety of prices

From a basic tent to a prestige campsite, including a tree house, the campsite offering is extremely wide and suitable for all budgets. For example, for a week’s vacation for four people in a tent in a 3-star campsite in a rural area near a lake, you will have to pay 371 euros for the week of August 15, compared to 1,351 euros for a mobile -home for six people in a 5-star campsite next to the Atlantic.

The trend also looks positive for 2024, since reservations for the summer period are up 6% this year, compared to the end of March 2023, even if this increase should be qualified because “people are booking earlier and earlier” , tempers Jean-Guy Amat.

The always privileged coastline, breakthrough in the North of France

The beach and the seaside remain the preferred destination for French campers. The coast concentrates more than half of overnight stays from May to August and is even increasing by 2.6% in 2023, compared to 2022. The three regions of the southern half of France (Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Occitanie and Paca ) account for 53% of national attendance.

However, the FNHPA notes an increase in reservations in the northern regions of France over the past ten years. In 2023, Pays de la Loire, Brittany, Normandy and Hauts-de-France further progressed by 5.8%, 5.8%, 6.2% and 7.3% respectively.

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