b'KOA Report Shows Millions of New Campers in 2020n BY BEN QUIGGLE Not only did the industry drive in more new campers in 2020,Millions of new people started camping in 2020. but the diversity of campers also increased. The report statesThat is one of the key takeaways of Billings, Mont.-based that 60% of first-time campers in 2020 were from non-whiteKampgrounds of America Inc.s (KOA) seventh annual North groups, the highest since the inception of the KOA report.American Camping Report that was released April 21. One thing to point out is that 37% of campers were part ofAdministered by Scott Bahr, of Cairn Consulting Group, the non-white groups, and that is one point over the census popu-report is filled with statistics and key measurements on the state lation statistics, ORourke explained. So, 36% of the censusof the RV park and campground sectors, making it a vital tool is non-Caucasian and 37% of campers last year were. Wevefor owners as they gauge future trends and look to add new been watching that number ever since we first started measur-amenities. ing this data in 2014 and have just seen it steadily increase. IDue to the current COVID-19 pandemic it has been no secret just love to see that it is now beyond the proportion of the pop-that many have been looking for ways to get outdoors and en- ulation that is considered non-white by the census numbers. Igage with nature in ways that the outdoor hospitality industry think that is phenomenal growth for camping.hasnt seen in a long time. The report also highlighted a growth in the number of familiesThat led to an increase of almost four million in the number that participated in camping. Fifty-four percent of campers inof active camper households, moving from 82,300,000 in 2019 2020 reported having minor children in the household. Sixty-to 86,100,000 in 2020. That is the largest one-year jump in ac- three percent of new camping families who joined the fold intive camper households since KOA began the report in 2014. 2020 intend to keep camping, while 64% of campers with chil-There were a lot of new people who started camping and dren plan to camp even more in 2021.that is a consistent theme throughout the report, Toby ORourke, The report highlights that couples with children are camp-CEO and president of KOA, told Woodalls Campground Magazine ings best advocates, with 63% indicating that they would rec-(WCM). We estimate over 10 million new campers came out ommend camping to others as a way to travel and explore.last year, which really drove these numbers up. It was an en- Millennials are the largest segment of the camping popula-larged response to the pandemic and looking for safe vacation tion at 37%, said ORourke. With that comes a nice increasealternatives and wanting to be outdoors. in families. You will see throughout the data, some of the mostThe KOA report notes that 55% of first-time campers cite engaged and active campers over the past year were couplesreasons that can be directly tied to concerns surrounding with children. Families are definitely driving a lot of activity andCOVID-19 as a reason they started camping in 2020. Two-thirds I think a lot of that can be attributed to more younger people(66%) of first-time campers also said they stayed at parks that camping.offered a great deal of enhanced amenities or provided at least For the first time, the report took a harder look at Gen Z, whichsome amenities such as a bath house with running water, electric hookups, etc., that allowed includes people born between the late 1990s and the early 2010s, in an effort to better under-them to work or school while camping. stand their camping habits.The numbers show that campers were also camping more frequently, with an increase of There was some good growth in first-time campers and 17% were from Gen Z, ORourkealmost four million in campers who said they camped three or more times in 2020. explained. We started looking at Millennials a few years ago and thats all anybody wanted toWe also see that 13.5 million camped at least one time in 2020, that is a significant increase talk about. We want to start understanding this younger generation and whats going to influencefrom the over five million who did so in 2019, noted ORourke. These numbers just show the their camping habits and continue to start watching them as they go through different life stagessheer amount of people who were trying it for the first time and maybe only camped once. and see how their camping behavior changes.There was a dip in the number of people who camped two or more times a year, but ORourke RV ownership went up significantly as well, the report notes, with 25% of campers notingnotes that many of those campers probably added extra nights to their trips and were pushed that an RV was their preferred way of camping. Tenting was still extremely popular too, withinto the three or more category. 64% of campers indicating that was their preferred method of camping.22 June 2021 Woodalls Campground Magazine'