'Happy campers' as outdoor holidays generate £340m and sustain 6,700 jobs in Northern Ireland
FAMILIES enjoying stays on campsites and holiday parks in Northern Ireland are now generating more than £340 million of annual spending, according to new research.
And camping, caravan and motorhome visitors are also helping to sustain 6,730 full-time jobs throughout the north, largely in rural areas.
The findings are contained in an independent study published on behalf of four major organisations representing the outdoor holidays sector - the National Caravan Council, Camping and Caravanning Club, Caravan and Motorhome Club, and the British Holiday & Home Parks Association.
The figures for Northern Ireland form part of a UK-wide 'Pitching the Value' study into the economic impact of campsites and holiday parks, and the benefits they bring to regional economies.
Researchers found that 110 campsites and holiday parks in the north provide more than 20,820 pitches, and account for 15 per cent of the region's entire tourism income.
The wide range of staying options includes touring pitches for tents, caravans and motorhomes, rented caravan holiday homes and lodges, and glamping units such as tipis and yurts.
The research shows that visitors to campsites and holiday parks in Northern Ireland also spend more and stay longer than other types of holiday guests.
While the average Northern Ireland visitor spends £58 a day and stays 3.1 days, campsite and holiday park visitors spend between £67 and £136 a day and stay between 3.9 and 7.2 days.
Bob Hill, who led the study, said: "This is a ground-breaking report that clearly demonstrates the important benefits which our sector brings to regional economies.
"Campsites and holiday parks are performing an important role in meeting the growing demand for staycations, and are also attracting many overseas visitors to this country.
"The evidence in our research makes a compelling case for our sector to be given as much support as possible to enable it grow and develop," he added.