KOA Accessibility

Editor’s Note: Kampgrounds of America Inc. released its 2023 North American Camping & Outdoor Hospitality Report on Tuesday (May 2) and, as always, the report is loaded with a ton of data.

In order to break down some of the key areas of the report, WOODALLSCM.com (WCM) will be focusing on a new section over the next few days as WCM works to ensure park owners get a grasp on the key data coming out of the report.

Accessibility to the outdoors is one key component of the 2023 North American Camping & Outdoor Hospitality Report and Whitney Scott, senior vice president of strategy at Kampgrounds of America Inc., told WOODALLSCM.com (WCM) that it shows how much more work there is for park owners to do.

“We were surprised by the data that came back,” she noted. “I think that the statistic of four and 10 campers either are or are traveling with someone that is physically impaired, that is a huge number.

“As an industry, regardless of what sector, I do not believe that we are facilitating to that amount, and how that breaks down, the trouble walking or climbing stairs,” Scott added. “From a park perspective, it’s important for us to re-look at how we define the inaccessible park through the lens of this data.”

The report notes that another one-in-five report difficulty with everyday tasks or report having visual impairments.

Camping, overall, is still viewed as more accessible than other forms of outdoor recreation, with 40% of campers viewing it as more accessible and 36% of all leisure travelers.

Forty-two percent of campers say camping is more accessible than other forms of travel, while 36% of all leisure travelers share the same view.

“There’s a lot of room to grow,” noted Scott. “I think diving into that, 37% of campers say it’s hard to find a location that accommodates them. If we understand that even just talking about it more or helping to highlight it, what’s accessible at our parks more or in our RVs, it will probably help them view camping as a more accessible option. I think even just showcasing what we have is still one of the biggest steps to move forward.”

The report notes that restrooms remain one of the greatest barriers to camping for people with accessibility issues, while walkways are mentioned by more than a third of campers.

“Close to a third say that knowing in advance which parks offer better accessibility is also a barrier,” states the report.

“When asked what a campground could do or provide that would better meet the needs of those with disabilities, again, the most commonly cited area for improvement is the bathroom/bath house,” added the report. “Having paved areas (e.g., patio sites) is also noted, including level paths to navigate the park, level campsites, accessible cabins and easy to use hook-ups for RVers.”

To read the full report go to the KOA Press Room at http://www.koapressroom.com/.