Camping season's rebound during COVID-19 crisis

Published: May. 27, 2020 at 3:12 PM CDT
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Interest in camping has grown steadily for the past decade, adding millions of new camping households each year, as measured by the annual North American Camping Report.

As more people search for safe, affordable vacation options closer to home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it's anticipated that the interest in camping will continue to grow at an accelerated rate.

Based on a survey conducted April 27-30, Special Report: North American Camping and the Effects of COVID-19 shows a promising forecast for the later part of the camping season given camping is more accessible and safer in terms of social distancing.

On Wednesday, Toby O’Rourke, President and CEO of Kampgrounds of America (KOA) joined NewsChannel 7 to talk about the study.

“Of those who’ve never camped before, a third of those people are saying they want to camp, so a lot of enthusiasm,” O’Rourke said, adding a lot of that is driven by safety. Both campers and non-campers ranked camping at the top of the list for different forms of travel.

She added that among the changes, people are planning to camp in smaller groups, usually with just their family unit.

“They’re going to camp closer to home, within 100-150 miles. They’re also seeking out less crowded destinations. A lot of campers are also considering RV camping. Again that drives back to safety. They’re self-contained units. You have your own bathroom, you’re able to cook your own food, you have all of your own belongings,” O’Rourke added.

In light of the pandemic, other changes at campgrounds include modified check-in procedures, closed group gathering spaces, and in the early stages, you may see pools or recreation closed. But O’Rourke said as time goes on and the threat of COVID-19 lessening, things will begin to slowly open back up.

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