New research from Kampgrounds of America (KOA) found Canadians eager to return to camping as pandemic restrictions across the country ease.
Two-thirds of Canadians surveyed in the special Canada Edition of KOA’s Monthly Research Report said they want to camp immediately or very soon. A total of 3.1 million Canadian households plan to camp this year, according to the report, with more than a half million camping for the first time.
More than half of Canadian campers (51%) plan to camp this summer, as two-thirds of Canadians surveyed said pandemic restrictions should have loosened to allow for camping. The pandemic changed 78% of camping plans by Canadians surveyed.
“Among the many barriers to travel last year, it is 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,” KOA President and CEO Toby O’Rourke said. “We know through our annual research that camping does not 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.”
Other findings included more than half of Canadian campers saying pandemic restrictions limited camping trips between March and mid-June 2021 when the survey was conducted. According to campers, camping is considered a safer alternative compared with 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%). Campers said they were looking forward to camping most in provincial park campgrounds (44%), followed by Canadian national park campgrounds (35%) and private campgrounds (28%).
KOA operates 33 campgrounds throughout Canada, including properties near national parks and metro areas.
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 behavior.