One of the growing tourism niches is camping tourism which denotes a type of nature-based excursion where campers stay in bounded areas together. This form of tourism obtains its distinction from other tourism types based on the flexible, temporary, and the flexible nature of its accommodation amenities including tents and recreational automobiles (RVs), and other mobile habitations. Camping tourism has witnessed increasing trends of its uptake within the broader tourism industry. The increased recognition of this tourism form hinges on the increased diversity witnessed in the sector, moving away from conventional camping excursions involving rustic campgrounds with a camping tent and fire ring (Mikulic et al., 2016). Notably, while it is necessary to recognize the paradigm witnessed in camping tourism, coastal camping has particularly gained much recognition, providing the campers with unique experiences of nature and social interaction. Besides, with increased development and growth of cities globally, many people often look for spaces where they can connect with nature away from the stifling clamour common with most urban areas. For example Canada has a fairly high annual camping population, over 5.7 million individuals annually, injecting approximately $4.7 billion to the economy.
One destination that specializes in offering camping tourism is the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, located in Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Vancouver Island provides a prime destination for camping tourism leveraging on its diverse ecosystem and extensive landscape that gets ever wilder when heading north. The mind-blowing diverse ecosystem embodies the aspect nature as a key facet of camping tourism, with campers able to catch a site of sea otters frolicking in the shallows or experience the sight of orcas breaching offshore. Vancouver Island is widely recognized for its wild and untamed beaches perfect for camping and other form of complementing adventures. Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is among the tourism pride destinations for Vancouver Islands offering a plethora of camping activities such as birding, fishing, surfing, hiking, swimming Kwisitis Visitor Center, and many more (Government of Canada, 2022). The campers get an experience beyond interacting with nature and the listed activities, as they get to interact with indigenous cultures such as the Nuu-chah-nulth people who have occupied the area for centuries (Government of Canada, 2022). The destination offers a cultural experience of a lifetime, attracting more clients to build and solidify its patronage base.
Part of the reason for the popularity of the location is its unique offer of diverse activity options for the travellers visiting its facility. For example, the Long Beach Unit, the Broken Group Island, and the West Coast Trail give tourists opportunities and experiences beyond the conventional tent pad and fire ring (Government of Canada, 2022). The Broken Group Islands can only be accessed via boat adding to the experience of the campers outside nature trails and also an experience with various forms of wildlife. The West Coast Trail is also an iconic site on the bucket list of many campers and hikers owing to its unique landscape and rich history. The 47-mile trail forms part of the ancient paths and paddling trade and travel routes used by the first nations (Government of Canada, 2022). Various villages and camps such as the Huuay-aht and Pacheedaht had already been established before arrival of the foreign sailing ships over 200 years ago. The subsequent years witnessed a surge in the number of ships and so did the cases of shipwrecks and drowning, earning the coastline the name “the Graveyard of the Pacific” (Government of Canada, 2022). Campers are able to experience such rich history alongside other fun activities such as climbing more than 100 ladders while carrying heavy packs through the diverse weather the wild West Coast offers.
The demographic market segmentation for this destination is divided into young highly educated individuals with above average income. The other demographic is families with young children with ages approximately up to 12 years (Mikulic et al., 2016). These demographics provide the best market for the park given the nature of activities provided at the site including fishing, hiking, outdoor cooking, and other fun family activities. Besides, the young educated individuals with an average income have a sizeable disposable income, having not yet committed to numerous strenuous obligations, coupled with the thrill for adventure characteristic of this group. The other segmentation is schools, with the destination setting up specific programs tailored for learning institutions. Schools are attracted to the destination’s enhanced school programs such as the coastal carnivores and the tidal treasures (Government of Canada, 2022). The learners in collaboration with the park interpreters get to explore the Kwisitis Visitor Center in pursuit for evidence of the top three terrestrial predators habiting this landscape alongside humans. The program elucidates issues regarding human/wildlife conflict and wildlife safety among other things. The Tidal Treasures also offers learners an opportunity to learn and explore the impact of plastics and man-made debris washed up along the coastline.
One of the benefits for this destination is that it offers an educational package, making it an attractive option for numerous learning institutions. Students at different learning stages can access information customized to their level allowing easy information uptake. The destination also boasts of several unique features all conveniently located within a single area. For example, campers can enjoy beach fires, take a hike along the West Coast Trail along the survival route of unlucky shipwreck victims spanning across rivers and streams (Government of Canada, 2022). Other features within the camping tour package include birding, fishing, and all year-round surfing at the Pacific Rim. The campers can also enjoy interacting with different cultures such as the Nuu-chah-nulth culture who have occupied the areas for centuries (Government of Canada, 2022). Part of the areas that require improvement is access to potable water at some of the sites such as the Broken Group Islands which does not have available potable water. Therefore, campers are forced to carry additional baggage, especially for longer stays. Another flaw is the lack of garbage pick-up, which may give an opportunity to delinquent individuals to dispose waste in the natural environment.
Government of Canada. (2022). Parks Canada: Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/bc/pacificrim/activ
Mikulic, J., Prebezac, D., Seric, M., & Kresic, D. (2016). Campsite choice and the camping tourism experience: Investigating decisive campsite attributes using relevance-determinance analysis. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tourman.2016.07.020