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Camping ramps up in Canada

June 1, 2023
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Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: Wisconsin businesses offering products or services targeting the RV market may find opportunities in Canada.

Camping is on the rise in Canada, and many campers want to bring some of the comforts of home as they commune with nature—by traveling in a recreational vehicle (RV).

Camping now represents about one-third (32%) of the leisure travel market throughout North America, according to the 2023 North American Camping and Outdoor Hospitality Report by Kampgrounds of America (KOA). Campers spent more than $52 billion in local communities in 2022, the report says.

About 5.6 million Canadian households took at least one camping trip in 2022—half a million more than in 2021—and they spent 10 nights camping, on average, compared to nine nights for U.S. campers, according to the KOA report.

Younger Canadians are turning to their tents and RVs more than before. Nearly half (46%) of Canadian campers in 2022 were millennials, up from 31% the previous year, while 18% were Gen Z, up from 8% in 2021. And they are more likely to combine business with pleasure: 50% said they worked while they were camping, compared with 27% the year before, KOA says.

Love of the outdoors was the main motivator for 38% of Canadian campers, while younger people were likely to credit their childhood vacations with their families as the primary reason for their renewed interest in camping.

The RV industry has an economic impact of $140 billion in the U.S. and $4.8 billion in Canada, according to the Dream Big, Travel Far blog. It says $416 million worth of RVs were manufactured in Canada in 2019, and the industry supported more than 67,000 jobs.

Canadians bought nearly 44,000 RVs in 2022—a decline from 53,000 in 2021, the Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association of Canada says, blaming higher interest rates and economic concerns for the downturn. But businesses expect sales to grow this year, the RVDA says.

Wisconsin companies with products and services for the camping and RV markets may find opportunities in Canada.

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