Luis Cachola

Glamping - Camping of kings, queens and sultans

In the first century, in an 'accelerated' society, where the average life expectancy is gradually increasing day by day, and the tourist offer is highly competitive, tourists become more informed and demanding, forcing the market to respond to this same requirement.  This degree of demand has led to the emergence of new tourism concepts, correctly related to a new tourist profile, with different needs. 

New concepts of luxury tourism emerge, with a significantly relevant investment in the approach; luxury, previously associated, among other aspects, with the sumptuousness and refinement of a given space/building, began to focus on the actual experience of the guest, not on their comfort and well-being, but on the enjoyment of a quality time (stay).

It is within this dynamic that, a new tourism concept/experience emerged in the UK in 2005 - Glamping, revolutionising the notion of camping that has been in place, under the vision; Sleep in nature in comfort and wellbeing.

The name, Glamping, was born from the combination of the English words, 'glamping' and 'camping', in order to emphasise a new tourism product.

Camping, a descendant of the military camps of antiquity, as a leisure practice related to nature, in which man takes his own shelter, to suppress the most elementary need of the human being, protection, spread in Europe after the First World War, due to the influence of the Scout movement.

Camping arose in response to the need of the inhabitants of industrialised urban centres, who, before the day before, enjoyed another space/environment, outside their usual place of residence, for leisure purposes in contact with nature.

This tourist product, in a first phase, allowed a supposed part of society, which did not have the economic capacity to frequent hotels, to enjoy the so-called holidays. With the increase in purchasing power and the appearance of other types of accommodation, such as tourist flats, hostels, etc., the practice of camping has suffered a certain stagnation.   

Camping, which is very much focused on a tourist profile, has never attracted people with greater economic capacity, who are also nature lovers, due to its characteristics of communal use of space, with reduced privacy.

Glamping is a tourist experience, which has matured the concept of traditional camping, inspired by real camps and safaris in Africa, with the aim of providing a unique stay in the middle of nature, focused on the comfort and wellbeing of the guests. 

Instead of the traditional camper, who sets up his own shelter, Glamping accommodation is properly set up, furnished and decorated, waiting for the guest.  It is a disruptive experience, compared to traditional camping, being able to assume different solutions in terms of accommodation typology and availability of facilities, adapting to different landscapes and territories.

Glamping Gavião Nature Village Portugal

Due to its characteristics, Glamping is a tourist offer that can and must satisfy the environmental concerns prevailing in today's society. In general, the low environmental impact inherent in the construction and operation of a Glamping park, allows a greater degree of flexibility, the balance between human action and the impact on the environment, with the aim of achieving a zero carbon footprint.

The 'Royal Camping', where, together with the functional aspects that the tents had to provide to welcome kings, queens and sultans on their travels and diplomatic tasks, elegance, refinement and decoration were decisive elements for the construction of sophisticated ephemeral environments, created for the well-being of the sovereigns.  The ephemeral encampments of kings, queens and sultans, demarcated a form of noble experience and positioning in society.

The 'Glamping' accommodation unit arises at the intersection between the enjoyment of nature, inherent to traditional camping, and the noble experience of a tent that welcomes kings, queens and sultans.   It is a stay experience that allows you to experience, fall asleep and wake up in nature, preserving the essence of the camping experience, with the comfort traditionally associated with the hotel room, taking advantage of all the necessary equipment to create a functional, elegant and welcoming environment. 

Glamping comes in practice as a nature tourism experience, based on the comfort and well-being of the guest. A stay experience that enhances the 'connection' with the present moment and with nature itself, as man's ancestral habitat.

It promotes natural living, maximising the 'freedom' inherent in this type of tourist facility. It awakens and 'activates' the five senses of the guests, transforming the stay into a sensitive and emotional, personal and exclusive experience.

It is an online tourism experience, with the new vision of luxury in tourism, Guest Wellness.

Glamping Gavião Nature Village, Portugal

If initially this tourist experience was strongly related to nature, glamping is nowadays widespread in the most diverse contexts, both rural and urban. Due to its versatility, it is possible to create stay experiences in the most unusual places, generating unique and differentiating moments. Always with the component of comfort and wellbeing present. 

This versatility allows us to look at the concept of Glamping from a different perspective. That is, in a logic of ephemeral and differentiating accommodation, which enables the creation of unique experiences in time and space. Unique stays designed to generate memorable experiences.

Luís Cachola

Tourism Architect

Co-founder and Managing Partner

Connective Architects, Lda

The authors are responsible for the choice and presentation of the facts contained in this document and for the opinions expressed therein, which are not necessarily those of Tourism and Society Think Tank and do not commit the Organization, and should not be attributed to TSTT or its members.

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