What RVers Need To Know About The 2023 KOA Camping Report
KOA published the 2023 edition of their North American Camping & Outdoor Hospitality Report, which is based on an annual survey that examines the camping behaviors of numerous campers. KOA specializes in camping and strives to fulfill the changing requirements of various types of campers.
They’ve conducted a survey every year for the last nine years and published the results in an annual report. This report provides lots of useful insights into the latest camping trends and activities. To be sure, the 2023 camping report has some key takeaways that will be of special interest to RVers, especially with regard to what they can expect in the coming camping seasons.
However, while RVers will find information in the report interesting, those in the increasingly competitive camping industry will be watching the reported trends very closely. Their response to the reported trends will definitely have an effect on the way we travel and recreate in our RVs. Here are the key takeaways RVers in particular will want to pay attention to.
RV camping is still more popular than ever
In 2022, 92 million Americans and Canadians identified as campers, including 15 million RV campers. This was an increase of almost 1,000,000. Notably, 58 million people camped at least once last year.
Another noteworthy finding was that that 6.4 million campers camped for the very first time in 2022. Camping remains a strong component of the leisure travel market, accounting for 32% of leisure travel in the US and Canada.
Campers are spending more
In 2021, campers spent more than $52 billion in local communities. That’s an increase of $8 billion more than they spent the previous year.
Last year, campers spent an average of $19 a day on leisure travel expenses than they did in 2021. This has important implications for local economies. It’s also worth noting that the campers who spent the most in 2021 were glampers.
Campers want to try new experiences
The hunger for new experiences is really fueling outdoor hospitality these days. 80% of campers want to try something new in their camping experiences. This could be ways to camp or outdoor activities geared towards connecting with nature in a new way.
However, 40% of campers said they want to travel to experience natural events like meteor showers or eclipses. It’s also notable that 36% of campers want to include food tourism and culinary experiences in their travels.
Campground amenities are important
61% of campers want campground amenities beyond a campsite. Examples of amenities campers want to see more of include glamping accommodations, food and beverages, entertainment, and recreation opportunities.
Camping remains a priority for RVers
Camping is an important leisure activity for many people. This may be because, even in an economic downturn, camping remains economically accessible for most individuals.
Faced with a failing economic climate, 38% of campers are willing to give up other vacation activities to go camping. 80% of survey respondents said they would give up other leisure travel options to camp more.
Most (56%) RVers plan to RV camp the same amount or more in the event of an economic downturn. 33% of RVers say they’ll use their RVs more, and 23% said they would use their RVs the same amount as usual. This is significant and helps demonstrate the economic resilience of outdoor hospitality.
What’s important to campers?
This year’s camping report found that, aside from trying new camping experiences, there are four other factors that are important to people.
1. Wi-Fi availability
50% of Canadian campers and 40% of their US counterparts work while camping. So it’s not surprising that the availability of WiFi is a determining factor in where and how much people camp. According to the report, 40% of campers say the availability of WiFi has an influence on their ability to camp.
40% of campers indicated that they have difficulty walking or climbing stairs. Therefore, accessibility is very important when planning out campground features like washrooms or laundry facilities. However, it’s interesting to note that one-third of campers view camping as more accessible than other activities.
3. Outdoor activities & recreation
Outdoor recreation activities remained important to campers in 2022. Fishing, hiking, kayaking, and canoeing all took the lead for preferred outdoor recreation activities.
4. Connecting with others
Camping is seen as a way to build stronger family connections. It’s also seen as a route to emotional well-being, with relaxing around the fire with good food and an adult beverage considered a featured camping activity for many. Interestingly, those who camp with family members are most likely to say that camping is a relaxing activity.
For 54% of campers, camping plays an important role in passing family traditions to the next generation. 56% of campers consider it important to introduce the younger generation to camping and the outdoors.
Learn more about the report
The 2023 KOA Camping Report indicates that camping continues to be robust and resilient, even in economic downturns. Camping is increasingly popular, with more people than ever viewing it as a way to relax, unwind, and connect with family, friends, and nature.
If there’s a downside to all of this, it’s that we can expect to see campgrounds continue to fill up, with reservations in national, state, and provincial parks being harder than ever to get. But for every downside, there’s an upside. And this one’s bright and shiny enough to bode well for many campers. There’s a good likelihood that campgrounds will respond positively to the findings of the report.
The increased popularity of camping could drive campgrounds to add more campsites and amenities that will attract campers. We can also expect more accessibility for the significant number of campers who have mobility challenges.
To view the full KOA camping report for 2023, visit their website at KOA.com.