Today’s word is a portmanteau of the two words glamour (from Scottish gramarye ‘magic, enchantment’) and camping (from Latin campus ‘open field, level space’), and comes to name the recent trend of holiday accommodations that combine camping in the nature with the comfort and facilities of a hotel holiday.
The term glamping, to describe a luxury camping vacation, is believed to have firstly appeared in the UK in 2005, coined by The Guardian’s Travel Section editor, who in the 19 Feb issue wrote that: “These days it’s more ‘glamping’ than camping, with the best companies offering state-of-the-art pre-erected tents and luxe mobile homes with ensuite bathrooms that feel like an Oscar-winner’s trailer.”
And it was the UK where the first wave of modern glamping started with the opening of the first boutique camping fields, and with the keyword first started being searched on Google in early 2007 with the most searches coming from the United Kingdom and Ireland (according to Google Trends).
The term made its official appearance in the Oxford English Dictionary in only 2016, yet the traditions of luxury camping take us thousands of years back.
Starting as far back as 1000BC and the yurts – the traditional round tents of Central Asian nomads; going through the Roman military tents; to royal glamping in Renaissance Europe: to mention the Kings Henry VIII of England and Francis I of France diplomatic summit in 1520, known as the Field of the Cloth of Gold because of the array of 2,800 golden tents that housed the two kings’ entourages; and the lavishly decorated tents of Ottoman sultans; to the 1900s and the African safari trips of wealthy Europeans and Americans staying in luxury furnished safari tents with upscale options such as electric generators, private bathrooms and verandas, and gourmet cuisine served atop fine lace tablecloths.
The last century’s business model of luxury tent rentals for weddings, private and corporate events, and festivals, became the base for the success of this century’s glamping tourism.
Back in 2014, CNN reported on glamping going mainstream: “Glamping” — featuring roomy canvas tents, comfy mattresses and overhead lighting — has gone mainstream and the businesses behind it are thriving”, and 4 years later the economic figures are more than glamorous.
Glamping is highlighted as the new worldwide travel trend for 2018, to provide travellers with adventurous in-nature experiences without compromising on the luxuries, reported to had seen a nearly 50% rise in bookings since the beginning of 2018, compared with the same period of 2017, and every 1 out of 8 online user interested in a type of a camping vacation, actively searching for glamping.
And there is a glamping option for every taste and budget. Sleeping in igloos, canvas tents, leather yurts, tree houses, wooden lodges, floating platforms, eco-huts, cave rooms, campers – the possibilities are unlimited, along with the offered facilities and price tags.