Canvas is increasingly the holiday shelter of choice for many Britons with tent sales and site bookings up before the season has even begun.
Bookings for the Easter bank holiday, next weekend, are 28% up on 2010 and 5% up on last year, reports the Camping and Caravanning Club.
Cycling and leisure retailer Halfords have seen sales of camping equipment soar by almost 50% in the run up to Easter, as the surge in popularity of outdoor holidays in the UK over the last three years shows no sign of slowing.
Halfords Camping Expert Paul Fensome said: “It’s clear camping is becoming more popular and the activity is now a regular part of many people’s holiday plans.
“Some customers are discovering the delights of camping for the first time while many more regular campers upgrade their equipment each year as improved products become available and campers are becoming more attached to their gadgets.
“Camping is for everyone, from those who want basic equipment to those who want modern tents which provide many of the comforts of home.”
Industry experts say the staycation trend and the popularity of nights under canvas have been boosted, not only by continuing economic uncertainty in Europe and austerity measures at home, but also by key events including the Queens Diamond Jubilee, the 2012 Cultural Festival which runs from 21 June 2012 – Midsummer’s Day – until 9 September 2012 – the last day of the London 2012 Paralympic Games and of course the Olympic Games itself.
Travel websites are already advising tourists coming for the Games that they may have already left it too late to book hotels and should check out temporary campsites set up close to the Olympic Park. Windsor Great Park will also provide 1000 pitches for those attending events at Eton Dorney.
Some sites will offer basic camping pitches for as little as £10, rising to £200 per couple for luxury glamping accommodation.
Camping and Caravanning Club Director General, Robert Louden, said: “With so much going on in 2012, this is the perfect time to make the most of the UK and take a holiday – our booking numbers are extremely positive at this stage.”
The latest Tourism Survey reveals that from January to the end of November 2011 there were 16.8 million camping and caravanning trips in Britain contributing around £2.6 billion to the economy. Not only was the total number of trips up almost 5% on the previous year, but the amount spent on those holidays leapt by nearly 13% year on year.