Always more comfortable
Only pure closeness to nature is no longer enough for many campers. The trend is towards more and more comfort: outhouse and gas cooker were yesterday, today it can also be a five-star campsite with a luxurious shower and bathing temple. And “ecocamping” is also on the rise.
Sauna, massages, sports and animation, luxurious shower and bath temples, cozy restaurants – today’s camper likes it comfortable. “This is no longer camping with an outhouse and gas cooker,” says Christa Suerken, owner of the largest holiday camp. The five-star course has been certified since 2006. The target group is the 50 plus generation, who take health vacations and usually travel with well-equipped motorhomes.
“Camping has a whole new set of values,” says Suerken. Only the desire for nature experiences remained. They have been successfully attracting nature lovers to his precious tent sites for years. The entrepreneurs are in good spirits for the camping season that traditionally begins in the last week of March or the first of April, explains Wolfgang Neumann, head of the National Association for Camping and Mobile Home Tourism.
Last year, the 188 campsites with 25,500 parking spaces registered a good four million overnight stays, ten percent more than in 2008, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs. In contrast to the national trend, the tourism industry grew overall by 2.3 percent to around 28.4 million overnight stays. The majority of the guests come from all different regions themselves, according to Neumann.
“Camping is trendy,” he says. “As soon as the sun comes out, it starts in the squares.” Such nature holidays are by no means cheap holidays, he concedes. Even real tent enthusiasts with less extensive equipment would no longer want to do without offers and comfort.
Constant investments in the vacation oases in the open air are reflected in the prices. Sanitary blocks, sports and playgrounds as well as shops are common. In the meantime, 13 systems with five stars, 26 with four and 7 places with three stars have been ennobled. In addition, the northeast has the most environmentally friendly camping parks. In December, 38 places in the country were awarded the “Ecocamping” label again, or out of 723 facilities worldwide.
Quality and environmental protection went hand in hand here, says Economics Minister Jürgen Seidel. Investments were made, for example, in biological sewage treatment plants, biomass heating for sanitary buildings, rainwater use for toilets, solar thermal systems, biologically clarified bathrooms or electric vehicles. It was ecological and economical at the same time, it said.
Most campsites cannot complain about insufficient occupancy. Facilities near the beach are fully occupied in the warm season, as the operators explain. The aim is to make better use of the off-season throughout the country with more leisure activities.
Boergerende, for example, relies on Kneipp treatments and physiotherapy, Groß Quassow on the Havel on a high ropes course in the forest, Seehof on Lake Schwerin on cutter and bike rental, and its own candle factory where campers can pull their lights themselves.
Worldwide, the number of camping nights rose by a good nine percent to a record 25 million domestic guests, according to the tourism association. From abroad, campers stayed for 3.7 million overnight stays – an increase of almost six percent.
In addition to cheap offers, the demand for luxury campsites is increasing. Overall, there is a greater ecological awareness and the desire for a vacation in nature. According to reports, campers in spend approximately $ 6.3 trillion per year in 3,700 places and $ 8.2 billion for equipment and travel expenses. 416,000 people secure camping jobs.