Canadian RVers are pretty anxious to get a taste of the camping freedom Americans have been enjoying this summer.
New research just released by Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) says Canadian campgrounds – shackled for months by local COVID-19 travel restrictions and the closure of the U.S./Canadian border – are still expecting to salvage the summer months.
New rules for vaccinated relatives
Speaking of the border, new Phase One rules went into effect in Canada this week that allow fully vaccinated Canadians living in the U.S. to visit relatives in Canada for the first time in more than a year. Canadians living in Canada still can’t visit the U.S. (vaccinated or not), and neither can U.S. citizens visit north of the border. So, no trips to Canada yet for U.S. RVers.
The new KOA report found 67 percent of Canadian households said they want to get out and camp immediately (or at least very soon). An estimated 3.1 million Canadian households plan to go camping this year and more than 500,000 plan to camp for the first time according to the Canadian Edition of the Kampgrounds of America Monthly Research Report. The survey report covers all Canadian camping activity, and not just camping at KOA locations.
Canadian campers are optimistic for the 2021 camping season, with 51 percent planning to camp during the summer months now that restrictions are easing across the country. What’s more, 77 percent of all campers are considering making up for some or all missed camping trips by taking more camping trips later this summer or into the fall.
COVID-19 restrictions limited camping trips
More than half of all Canadian campers indicate COVID-19 restrictions limited their camping trips between March and mid-June 2021, when the survey was conducted. A majority of campers, 78 percent, said they had to change their camping plans due to COVID-related reasons. Even so, many campers are frustrated at not being able to camp so far this year. Two-thirds of campers think that there should have been some loosening of restrictions by the Canadian government to allow for people to camp during the pandemic.
“Among the many barriers to travel last year, it’s 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,” said Toby O’Rourke, President and CEO of KOA. “We know through our annual research that camping doesn’t just allow campers to escape the stress of everyday life, but contributes to emotional well-being 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.”
Where do RVers want to camp?
When asked where campers plan to camp this summer, British Columbia (30 percent), Alberta (26 percent) and Ontario (23 percent) were top-listed provinces.
Most of the traffic will come to Canada’s national park campgrounds (35 percent) and private campgrounds (28 percent). KOA currently has 33 parks of its own north of the border.
The survey included completed results from 1,200 Canadian camping families.