A new report from Kampgrounds of America reveals that, as COVID-19 restrictions ease, Canadian campers are ready and eager to get out and reconnect with nature and with each other: 67% say they want to get out and camp immediately or very soon. An estimated 3.1 million households plan to go camping this year and more than 500,000 plan to camp for the first time, according to the findings from a special Canada Edition of the Kampgrounds of America (KOA) Monthly Research Report, a pulse check on camping industry indicators and the impact of the pandemic on camping behaviour.
Canadian campers are optimistic for the 2021 camping season with 51% planning to camp during the summer months now that restrictions are easing across the country. What's more, 77% of all campers are considering making up for some or all missed camping trips by taking more camping trips later this summer or into the fall.
More than half of all Canadian campers indicate COVID-19 restrictions limited their camping trips between March and mid-June 2021, when the survey was conducted. A majority of campers, 78%, said they had to change their camping plans due to COVID-related reasons. Even so, many campers are frustrated at not being able to camp so far this year. Two-thirds of campers think that there should have been some loosening of restrictions by the Canadian government to allow for people to camp during the pandemic.
"Among the many barriers to travel last year, it's encouraging to see that campers are eager to get out and start camping again, and even plan to make up for missed camping trips after a very trying year," said Toby O'Rourke, President and CEO of Kampgrounds of America (KOA). "We know through our annual research that camping doesn't just allow campers to escape the stress of everyday life, but contributes to emotional wellbeing through the ability to connect with nature, themselves and others. We believe this is more essential than ever and our campgrounds, owners and staff are ready to help people connect to the outdoors and each other through camping."
According to campers, camping is considered a safer alternative compared to other forms of travel. When camping resumes, almost an even split plan to camp with close friends and family (39%) or only with immediate family (38%). And when asked where campers plan to camp this summer, British Columbia (30%), Alberta (26%) and Ontario (23%) were top-listed provinces.
Campers are looking forward to camping most in provincial park campgrounds (44%), followed by Canadian national park campgrounds (35%) and private campgrounds (28%), the latter of which provides amenities to make camping easy and enjoyable. From Deluxe Cabins with personal space for social distancing to campsites designed to meet the respective preferences of tent and RV campers, KOA campgrounds provide amenities and services that fit the needs of a variety of camping types. KOA's 33 campgrounds throughout Canada include properties near national parks and metro areas making it easily accessible for long or short distance trips.
The KOA Monthly Research Report is an initiative conducted in the U.S. and Canada to monitor the rapid changes in camping. The monthly report tracks participation, incidence and future intent, campers' preferred destinations, and the impact of the pandemic on camping behaviour.
The sampling methodology targeted a randomly selected sample of Canadian households. Sampling was designed to obtain n=1,200 completed surveys among representative Canadian households. A sample of n=1,200 Canadian households is associated with a margin of error of +/- 2.83%. All surveys were completed online via an outbound solicitation sent to a randomly selected cross-section of Canadian households. The sample of households from which the surveys were completed was statistically balanced to ensure that the results are in line with overall population figures for age, gender and ethnicity.