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At Fiere di Parma, from the 8th to the 16th September, there will be a new edition of the kermesse dedicated to open-air holidays. The latest trends, special events, and all the new developments of a tourist sector always on the rise.

Fabrizio Lodi


Returning to the Parma Fiere, from the 8th to the 16th September, is the Camper Show, a full immersion into the world of open-air tourism. For the 9th edition, over 300 international brands will be present, spread over 150 thousand square metres of exhibition space.

The exhibition centre will present the current trends in camper van holidays, and also plans to create GEO, the biggest green rest area in the old continent, by 2020. Travelling by camper is part of the philosophy of "free" travel, which combines an awareness of the land with personalised holidays and a healthy dose of adventure.

There will be five pavilions, displaying everything from large motorhomes to minivans, for a mix of practicality, comfort and spartan spirit. Then there will also be the "family format" vehicles, for those with children in tow, which combine comfort and aesthetics.
There won't be a shortage of ideas for unusual routes and destinations (food-related as well), which will make the Camper Show unique in Europe for its holistic view of tourism, a combination of destinations, food and exploration of the land.

If we look at the numbers, there are 4.1 million Italians passionate about open-air travel, whether by camper, caravan or in tents (data from 2016), reaching a total of 27.6 million nights and an annual turnover of around 1.5 billion euros.

There are also more than 4 million foreign tourists coming to the country, adding up to 26.7 million nights and an expenditure of 1.4 billion euros.

Two more pieces of data attract our attention to the importance of open-air tourism. Firstly, the spending of foreign tourists in this sector saw an increase of 7.7% in 2016, against an increase of only 2.3% in total incoming tourists. Secondly, food and shopping make up over 50% of the total expenditure of foreign tourists.

This is an extraordinary accelerator for the country's economy, bringing substantial levels of export opportunities within our borders.


The figures clearly show the strong recovery of the national tourism sector in its entirety: in 2017, 58.7 million international travellers visited Italy (+11.8%), for a total expenditure of 39.2 million euros (a growth of 7.2%).

Open-air tourism has an ever-stronger impact on national industry. In one year, production increased from 15,143 to 21,712 units (+43%), while registrations showed an increase of 20% (5,099 units). With over 7,000 people employed in the sector (directly and indirectly) and an annual turnover of over a billion euros, Italy reinforced its position among the most productive countries in Europe in 2017.

The numbers also demonstrate how the quality of campervan holidays is already a top priority for many families, with a definite preference for new models over used vehicles.

On one hand, these consist of super-luxury products and one-off projects made according to the requirements of the customer, such as luxury motorhomes: campers which resemble yachts, both in terms of their interior design style and their highly researched space-saving solutions and accessories. On the other, more compact models continue to be released, such as Campervans and pure campers, which are designed for those with a more modest budget. Campervans are becoming more and more popular for weekend trips, being easy to manoeuvre and park.

Then, finally, there are also those for whom life in a camper is still a dream. For these so-called "aspirationals", Assocamp, in collaboration with APC and Parma Fiere, is launching the "Professional Hire" campaign, to provide maximum security and peace-of-mind. Through this campaign, a total of 1,000 discount vouchers for 50 euros off weekend hire, or 100 euros off a whole week, will be available to spend at all the van-rental companies involved in the initiative. You can reserve a voucher on www.assocamp.com, to then collect it in person between the 8th and the 16th September during the Camper Show (pavilion 4, south entrance).


The programme for the 2018 edition is, as always, full of special events. The “Tenda & Tende - Tents and Campsites” area is back: an adventure space which exhibits the most innovative camping products in terms of design, materials and equipment.

"Percorsi & Mete- Routes and Destinations" will be the area dedicated to travelling by camper. From original destinations abroad (Olomouc and Kromeriz, Poznan, Lodz and Zamosc) - proposed by agencies and tourism authorities such as Poland, the Czech Republic, and also Marche and Friuli - to the Emilian lands of Guareschi (Ragazzola, Stagno, Fontanelle, Roccabianca, Fossa, Rigosa); from Food Museums (30 destinations along a route of over 100 kilometres between Zibello and Langhirano), to a tasting-stop at the cheese factory of Parmigiano Reggiano.

Another important area is the travel section, "Incontri & Racconti - Encounters and Tales": the 9th edition of the show will feature 14 writers with stories of extraordinary trips. One of these is Asmae Dachan, an Italo-Syrian journalist and writer who recounts the drama of the war in Syria in her novel "Il silenzio del mare - The Silence of the Sea". Another is Seba Pezzani, who narrates the conflicts between black and white people and the Confederate flags that still fly in Texas. Then there is Silvia Ugolotti, and Giuliano Pugolotti and his silent races through the world's deserts, challenges he has now been undertaking for years. This is to name but a few.

Finally, not to be forgotten, is the green rest area outside, which covers over 100,000 square metres and has around 3300 car parking spaces and 80 spaces for campers. It is complete with a lowland wood, stepping stones and green corridors made from rows of trees.