As the 2014 caravan and camping season kicks off in earnest , figures published by the CSO show that caravan and camping in Ireland is back in vogue and growing in popularity among Irish people.
The CSO’s latest Household Travel Survey shows a significant growth in the camping and caravanning sector with the number of nights generated by domestic tourism up by 30% from 2012. This represents a welcome return to growth for the sector following a number of challenging years according to the Irish Caravan and Camping Council.
“Sixty seven per cent of caravan and campsite operators reported increased visitor levels with all citing the fine weather experienced in 2013 as a driving factor,” said Con Quill, chairperson of the Irish Caravan and Camping Council (ICC).
“More and more Irish people are discovering the benefits of caravanning and camping in Ireland with the majority of people who camped in Ireland with us in 2013 (61%) trying it out for the first time. Last year especially, we experienced an uptake of families arriving with their car and tent (58%) and a significant percentage (30%) camping on the recommendation of friends or family,” said Quill.
According to the ICC, the majority of those who holidayed at caravan and camping parks last year stayed for between 1-7 nights, visiting 2-3 Parks during their trip.
Some of the most popular reasons for choosing a caravan and camping holiday were the family orientated nature of the holiday (26%), to get the outdoor experience (23%), the freedom to come and go as you choose (21%) and value for money (17%).
“We’re experiencing a lot of repeat business this year, especially from families and our long-term seasoned camping couples. Camping is ideal for bigger families as it’s so much easier than packing a typical Irish family abroad,” said Quill.
The wide selection of amenities available, the beautiful locations and surroundings of the parks, the friendliness of the staff and the well-maintained facilities were also quoted as enticing reasons to go camping.
Visit www.campingireland.ie to download the Camping Ireland App free of charge or order a copy of the 2014 Caravan, Camping & Motorhome guide. The Guide can also be picked up from any Tourist Office.
For those considering a caravan and camping holiday this year, a discount Camping Key Card can also be purchased for €16 from www.campingireland.ie. This card offers discounts on certain sites, visitor attractions, activities and a whole range of restaurants. Full details of the discounts can be found on the website.
Tops tips for first-time campers
Research and plan your route, particularly if you’re bringing kids – campingireland.ie has all the information you need with details of 84 Fáilte Ireland registered caravan and camping parks around the country. A discount Camping Key Card can be purchased for €16 offering discounts on certain sites, visitor attractions, activities and a whole range of restaurants. Full details of the discounts are on campingireland.ie.
- Book early or ring ahead to make sure there’s availability, particularly in the peak season months of July and August.
- Practice pitching your tent at home before heading off.
- Get to know your camping neighbours and don’t be afraid to ask them for a helping hand.
- Pack sensibly – Ireland can experience all seasons in one day, even during the summer, so pack accordingly.
- Compile a checklist so you’ll only bring what you think you’ll use.