Caravans and camping for travelling in freedom
Between 9 and 17 October, the Gran Via area will host the 29th International Caravanning Show, which year after year and attracts thousands of visitors who have the chance to discover and perhaps even buy the latest ideas in caravans and camper vans.
Over 6 million people are involved in camping and caravanning in Spain every year. Spaniards and foreigners decide to travel and to live in freedom, without any ties, at least for a while. They enjoy a lifestyle which provides closer contact with nature. And as the architect Juli Capella says in an article published a few weeks ago, “could be a metaphor for human settlement”.
Spain has been a paradise for camping and caravanning since the arrival of the first French, Dutch, British and German tourists in their caravans and camper vans fifty years ago. With 1,200 campsites giving a chance to live life close to nature, whether by the sea or in the heart of the mountains, Spain is one of the main destinations. It is also an important sector within the Spanish economy, with a turnover of 500 million euros.
Three caravanning fans
Juan Manuel Muraday: “it’s the best way of doing family tourism”
Ninco Head of Communication, married and the father of two children, and remembers how he started. “We started when we were engaged because it was the cheapest way of going on holiday”. Juan Manuel and his fiancée are now husband and wife and the parents of two small children, which has led them to change the way they travel. “Now we go in a trailer tent. It gives us the freedom to move around easily, and means that we can visit different places whenever we want”, he explains. For Ninco’s Head of Communication, going camping is the best type of family tourism. “The kids have a great time, as they can run around as much as they want, and they love getting to know kids of their own age in that environment”. And he concludes by saying: “For us, it is a very relaxing way of spending our holidays. You can leave your watch at home”.
Susana García: “spending holidays on the campsite is priceless”
Her parents were among the first Spaniards to spend their summers camping. “Every June, when school finished, I spent my holidays there with my parents and my brothers and sisters”. Susana is also loyal to the place she spent her holidays as a child. “After 37 years going to the same campsite, I still look forward very much to the first day of the season to go back there with my husband and daughters”. She has a camper van and awning and lots of accessories, and says that spending the holidays camping is priceless. “Enjoying the fresh air, the sea, chatting over a coffee with the neighbours, the game of petanque… they’re things that you really can’t do in a hotel”. And she also thinks that campsites are ideal places for children. “They’re in the fresh air all day, they get to know other children and they are very safe places where they organise activities to entertain them”.
Ramón Nuez: “I’ve spent my entire life travelling in caravans”
He combines his passion with his profession. “35 years ago, I had an upholstery workshop in Barcelona with three partners,” he recalls. One of the partners, José González, bought a caravan and asked us if we could make him an awning. We had some experience in making hoods for cars, but we had no idea what an awning was”. Nuez and his partners (José González and Paco Sánchez) decided to specialise in manufacturing these accessories. So in 1974, they founded INACA, onne of the leading companies in the sector in Spain and internationally. Nuez says ” I have travelled in caravans all my life” and “when I had children, I decided to do camping and caravaning at the same time”.
Down memory lane…
1977. Spain is experiencing major political, economic and social changes. Spaniards’ quality of life is improving and it gradually starts to be similar to that of their European neighbours. Fira de Barcelona shows its ability to set trends, and launches the International Caravanning Show, the first of its kind in Spain, which becomes a commercial platform for a new lifestyle. It has been a long time since then, and the show is still going. It is celebrating its 29th anniversary in 2010.