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From camping to glamping - how the US are catching up with a very British recreation

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While some people camp to experience roughing it in the wilderness, others are going for a more civilised approach. 'Glamping', or glamorous camping is a growing trend for a new kind of travel - also known as glorious, boutique or luxury camping.

The History of Glamping

Glamping, in theory, has actually been around since the time of the Turkish Ottomans who set up mobile palaces for their sultans while traveling. They carried expensive silk fabrics, rugs and furnishings for their tent cities.

In the early 1900s, safari operators began incorporating luxuries for wealthy American and European travellers who wanted to experience the wild, but not without the comfort of the lifestyle they were accustomed to at home. Large canvas safari tents housed bedding, Persian rugs and even came staffed with a chef to prepare meals. 

Present Day Glamping

Modern day glamping started to become popular in the United Kingdom in 2007, according to search results of Google Trends and The Telegraph. The industry saw a big bump in business in 2013, which the National Caravan Council attributed to an increase in the number of people booking caravan and camping holidays.

The growth was also attributed to more people choosing “staycation” breaks over travelling abroad and a decision by the government not to raise taxes on caravan holiday homes, known as recreational vehicles here in the U.S. 

The glamping craze has fuelled an entire industry in the U.K. There are countless guides to glamping hotspots and opportunities to purchase every kind of tent imaginable - from bell tents to American teepees to Mongolian yurts to Indian shikars.  And, of course, there are all the accessories you could possibly need (usually adorned with the floral prints of quintessentially British designer Cath Kidston) including the all-important bunting, melamine cups and plates, posh fire-pits and even candle chandeliers and sheepskin throws for your gleaming white bell-tent.

Outdoor music festivals such as the sold-out Glastonbury Festival and the Secret Garden Party in Cambrideshire even offer glamping sites described as “nirvana” as an option for those who don’t want to get muddy. 

Glamping in USA

The United States has followed suit with this glamping trend, but more slowly, and unofficially. There are no stats to back it up, no glamping trade group exists and the Outdoor Industry Association isn’t charting “luxury camping” statistics. Still, the west coast has the highest saturation of glamping searches, and The Seattle Times claims glamping took root in Washington. Entrepreneurs in almost every state are jumping on the bandwagon and are bidding for your next pampered camping trip, with prices ranging from $150 to $3000 per night for the most posh glampsites.

There’s even an urban outdoor glamping experience above Central Park. Summer penthouse guests at the AKA Central Park now have the opportunity to sleep outdoors under the city lights. The glamping package includes a bedroom on a 1000 square foot terrace with a bed, fireplace, telescopes, a nook loaded with campfire stories and breakfast for two in the morning. 

Glamping is also happening at local RV resorts, where vehicles are getting bigger and campers demand Wi-Fi access as standard. US camping businesses in general have weathered the ecomonic crisis well (the number of people going camping increased by 4 million between 2008 and 2014) as folk have chosen to explore the beauty of their homeland as a thrifty alternative to heading overseas.

As the joys of the outdoors are becoming more attractive to a wider section of holidaymakers, there's never been a better time to invest in a camping business. Take a look at our listings at BusinessesForSale.com.

 

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