One of the highlights of glamping spaces is living with nature, enjoying a hot tub or bath in outdoors with spectacular views.

"Indo Kiwi Glamping" by Greg Watt, All Rights Reserved.


Introduction - Permanent Structures in Glamping Spaces


Glamping cabins can be erected in stunning extreme environments. here a permanent rigid structure is constructed in desert conditions.

"Kulala Desert Lodge" by Hugh Byrne is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

A permanent rigid structure constructed from stone and corrugated iron in a semi-arid location near to the Grand Canyon

“Grand Canyon: Phantom Ranch Cabins 2890” by Grand Canyon NPS is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Construction of Bush cabin as a permanent structure in a locatity of untamed bush.

“Zane Grey Cabin on the Rogue River” by BLM Oregon & Washington is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Glamping accommodation built as permanent structures from durable materials using conventional construction, are increasingly being promoted within glamping spaces. Despite some assertions that they have always been a part of glamping, there is no evidence that substantiates this. While glamping has defied explicit definition beyond the vague melding of its word construction, the foundational notion of camping assuredly excludes representations of solid, durable construction. Their permanence excludes them from the conceptual idea of glamping, and yet they form a significant proportion of what is claimed to be glamping. So, what is the case for permanent structures within glamping?

This brings us to the present. In the United States, cabins accounted for over a third of glamping accommodation in 2018, with a projected growth rate of 14% CAGR (Arizton Advisory and Intelligence, 2019) and is driving growth. Cabins and treehouses are also expected to provide the strongest growth in Europe (Arizton Advisory and Intelligence, 2020). The Arizton report also notes that other forms of permanent rigid structures provide significant inroads into glamping accommodations.

If it is accepted that the horse has bolted. If permanent structures are now a firm fixture within the glamping industry, then is the concept of glamping itself obsolete. Any contention that glamping is a legitimate and authentic tourism type rests with the tenets that encompass it. Are these merely a sop to bringing it into the greater hospitality fold? If not, then moving the goalposts without rationalising why muddies the water and stigmatises the concept.

Article Outline.

This article contends that there is a case for particular forms of permanent structures (but not all). Using reasoning in four stages, it; firstly, outlines the case against; secondly, considers perspectives of glamping space; thirdly, presents the case for permanent structures based on their resemblance to archaic second homes (ASH); and lastly, investigates the forms of permanent structures to which the reasoning applies. The basis of the assertion surrounds the affinity glamping has with early-period ASH buildings. Furthermore, it is asserted that comparability exists through similarities around how they are lived within, and how they enable experiences to be consumed. In making the case, the notion of the second home is discussed, their incorporation into society is considered, along with the impact of media portrayals over many decades. Finally, the argument is rounded out by theorising about the connectiveness between ASH buildings and glamping.


The Argument Against the Inclusion of Permanent Structures in Glamping.


Construction of glamping accommodation using conventional permanent construction within an area of untamed bush

"05_D_1" by Jeremy Levine Design is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Construction of cabins and cottages using mass permanent construction techniques

"200925-N-BR087-1001" by U.S. Pacific Fleet is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Permanent structures have fixed framing, which, once constructed, remains in place throughout the structure’s serviceable life. They are fabricated from solid, immutable materials which are connected together in a durable and absolute fashion. This contrasts with shelter abode construction which utilises dismantlable framing, overlayed with flexible coverings which can be rolled, folded or otherwise packed away. In their original form, shelter abodes were developed in a fashion that allowed their occupants to quickly uproot and re-establish themselves in a different location. Moreover, by their nature, shelter abodes place glampers more intimately within their surrounding environment. Situated in the wild, it is expected that experiences of the natural world while staying in shelter abodes are more real, and more authentically lived (refer Evolution & Appropriation.

Opposing this, proponents of permanent structures argue that many shelter abodes are also being built with an eye towards their longevity. Timber decks, along with plumbed in services and wiring, contribute to glamper comfort and ease of operation for glamping entrepreneurs. However, contrivances within shelter abodes are usually situated to blend empathetically within the thematic vision of the glamping site. Conversely, installations within permanent structures are not merely contrivances, but statements of immutability. Often, they are not images of harmonious beingness within nature, but instead, representations of humankind’s mastery over, and separation from, rurality and the wilderness. When considered in isolation, detached from any holistic characteristics or Gestalt, their presence can be awkward.


Perceptions of Glamping Space.


Familar living situated in an exotic space is an essential attribute of glamping spaces

"Hot tub by a lake" by Andrei! is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Glamping spaces provide exceptional experiences, both within untamed bush and civilised nature, illustrated here by brilliantly clear view of star lit nightsky

"Rural Colorado Rocky Mountain Milky Way View" by Striking Photography by Bo Insogna is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

semi-enclosed deck attached to permanent structure, enabling a themed glamping space to be projected

"Indo Kiwi Glamping Deck" by Greg Watt, All Rights Reserved.

Perceptions.

Perceptions are mixed. Perceived notions can be deceptive, illustrated by research carried out by Milohnić, Bonifačić and Licul (2019), who looked at trends and perspectives surrounding the transformation and development of glamping from camping. The research revealed significant differences in the views of glamping entrepreneurs (site owners and glamping product manufacturers) compared to glampers. Here, the most striking differences concerned tree-houses and unusual types, which were favourably perceived by entrepreneurs but viewed much less positively as glamping accommodations by guests. Further, while bungalows, cabins and mobile homes received mild support from all respondents, safari tents were only viewed positively by glamping product manufacturers. In fact, factors outside of the accommodation shell were more influential in people’s minds regarding glamping spaces. In particular, “top-level equipment and amenities, a natural environment, and service quality” all featured as definitive attributes.

The Role of Tourism Intermediaries

There is no doubt that today, online tourism intermediaries are influential, not only in distribution but also in perception. However, it is difficult to glean any basic statistical information, and mostly, facts are infused with marketing hype and promotion that may or may not accurately reflect actuality. Nonetheless, they do provide insights regarding trends and directions.

Coolcamping promotes itself as a connoisseur of campsites and glamping sites throughout England, Scotland, and Wales. Their “UK Camping Trends Report 2021” leans towards camping hospitality and, as a consequence, is viewed as being camping centric. Its top ten most popular accommodation types (of camping and glamping taken together) makes interesting reading. Of glamping accommodations, bell tents fill its third most popular place, yurts are only placed in eighth, and safari tents languish in tenth place. Ahead of these are pods (4th), shepherd’s huts (5th), and cabins (7th). Despite Coolcamping’s supposed bias, permanent structures are notably prominent. This is extenuated when website page views are measured against listed availability. Here, treehouse accommodation features against all others, with safari and bell tents languishing at the bottom of the survey. However, this would be expected as sites with these forms have been around for many years and are numerous.

In the same fashion, Canopy and Stars associate themselves with the “most inspiring places to stay in the great outdoors”, identifying itself with glamping paying particular attention to a mainstay of treehouses, yurts, cabins and shepherd’s huts (Canopy & Stars, 2021). While the website is searchable for shelter abodes such as safari tents, tipis and bell tents, these are not highlighted. Defining glamping accommodation as “the best of camping and the best of hotels mashed together”, the site has a predominance of permanent structures. Their unusual places feature bespoke architectural designs and historical constructions such as roundhouses and tabernacles.


The Conceptual Basis for Inclusion of Permanent Structures within Glamping Spaces.


Campfire cooking is an omnipresent attribute of camping, which is also an important element in glamping spaces

"Campfire" by Anne Worner is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Permanent structures have their origins in the archaic second homes that developed from bush huts and cottages built within the untamed bush.

"Big Crack Chimney" by Patrick Henson is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

It is most commonly reasoned that glamping has its roots in, and developed from, camping. Within this line of thought, there is an implicit assumption that glamping has originated from this singular concept and is largely homogenous in its nature. However, it can be reasoned that the instigating endeavour was borne out of the desire to personally engage with rurality in general, and the wilderness more particularly. Further, while camping provided a mechanism to do this, other mechanisms also existed.

Conversely, it is asserted that glamping has, in fact, originated from several foundational beginnings which have converged to similar outcomes. The democratisation of leisure and recreation materialised in the early 1900s and substantially progressed after WWII. It is clear that glamping spaces around shelter abodes conform to the notion of an evolved form of camping. However, it is argued that glamping spaces around permanent structures also developed from early-period second-home (ASH) ownership (holiday homes). It is asserted that reasons to go glamping today are similar to the reasons people went to and enjoyed their holiday home during the emergence of leisure and recreation.


The Notion of Second Homes.


Femundsmarka

Femundsmarka by Henning Klokkeråsen is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Permanent construction is used in the construction of treehouses, cottages, and cabins

Mountain Cabin by Jeremy Levine design is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Permanent structures provide an association with the untamed bush through outddor kitchens and ablution areas

"La Caracola Outdoor Kitchen | 180112-0033378-jikatu" by Jimmy Baikovicius is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The second home plays a unique role within society, as it “serves as a singular purpose: to serve as a receptacle of and springboard for recreation and leisure.” (Shellenbarger, 2012). Globally, the ownership and manifestation of a second home is played out in various ways. Today, second home ownership varies from run-down shacks and sheds, used as a place to stay while enjoying an outdoor pursuit in the wild, to lavish and expansive villas located in well established holiday destinations. While often portrayed as a status symbol, they are usually established for more functional purposes. It is the former, the run-down shacks and sheds, which concern this article.

New Zealand’s early-period baches and cribs are thematic and distinguishable as examples of this early period of recreational development. However, second-homes are common in many countries, including all the Nordic countries, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the Czech Republic, South Africa, Canada, the United States, and Australia (Back & Marjavaara, 2017). The accessibility of second homes is also notable. In Sweden, over 54% of the population own or have access to a second home through relatives and friends (Back & Marjavaara, 2017), a feature mirrored in other Nordic countries. Over 40% of Norwegians have access to holiday homes or hytter, which are viewed as representing “back to nature primitiveness and outdoor recreation” (Gravey, 2008, p. 204). While less accessible elsewhere, many people in countries where second homes are prevalent have experienced and enjoyed their idiosyncrasies and quirkiness.


New Zealand as Exemplar, amongst a Global Movement Towards Holiday Homes.


Autumn in the wild showcases living with nature through stunning colours of the untamed bush shedding their leaves

"Arrowtown Fall" by James Barwell is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Camping in New Zealand camping grounds is about living with nature where the outdoors is a civilised nature

"'Happy Summer Holidays' Motor Camp, Mount Maunganui, 1968" by Archives New Zealand is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Family camping has always been experiencing the outdoors as a civilised nature

"Motor Camp, Coopers Beach, Northland." by Archives New Zealand is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Bush and mountain cabins are about experiencing the wilderness and protecting oneself from an untamed bush

"3.5 hours" by Vern is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Permanent structures such as mountain cabins provide protection and security from the elements in the untamed bush

"Tahurangi Hut, Taranaki, New Zealand, 1975" by Phillip Capper is licensed under CC BY 2.0

New Zealand can be used as an example of the parallel development of camping and second homes, and is relevant due to its small population, the expanse of relatively untouched wilderness and lack of dangerous animals. From the early 1900’s New Zealanders engaged with the landscape in several ways, both as civilised nature, and as untamed bush (Ross, 2008). Society interacted with a civilised nature through camping grounds and negotiated with the untamed bush from ASH buildings.

A Civilised Nature - Camping Grounds.

For most New Zealanders, camping developed through camping grounds, situated around organised manicured fields, often located adjacent to popular beaches, lakes and rivers. Communal ablution and kitchen amenities provided a semblance of normality, while social interaction with fellow campers was not only unavoidable but formed the quintessential experience. Here, people engaged with a civilised nature, where the space dominated and experiences came about through that participation. The contradiction inherent within modern camping worldwide is noted by Brooker and Joppe (2013) in their international review, where campers regard:

Camping and outdoor hospitality as a tradition that includes the outdoors, a campfire, a tent and socialising. Even so, this mainstream group still seeks out comfort, illustrating the contradiction that underlies the modern camping experience – the desire to recreate in the outdoors, but with modern conveniences.
(Brooker & Joppe, 2013, p. 3)

It is contended that modern camping as enacted within camping-grounds do not manifest as glamping due to three interrelated attributes; firstly, the accommodation space is omnipresent with experiences being determined by and secondary to this space; and secondly, that the notion of socialisation, both within the family/friend group and the larger camper population is crucial to the experience. Finally, the close-packed nature of modern camping, where participants are assigned small plots, is an antithesis of glamping with its notion of wide-open spaces surrounded by natural wilderness. In many ways, it is this imposed density that brings about the first two attributes of camping.

In contrast to camping within a civilised nature, there is an expectation amongst glampers that areas around glamping spaces will be open, exude rurality, and interaction with the outddors will take precedence over interaction with other people. Experiences will dominate their stay and will provide memorable moments with accommodation spaces complementing these. Consequently, socialisation may be a factor during a glamping stay, but is unlikely to be a critical element.

The Untamed Bush - Glamping’s Invocation of Early-Period Second-Homes.

Engagement with New Zealand’s untamed bush occurred at a more personal, reclusive level, where people followed their outdoor interests such as fishing, hunting and tramping within the wild (Walters, 2014). Here, the experience governed the perspectives of participants, and accommodation space was subsumed, merely fulfilling functional requirements. These huts or cabins were inexpensive, constructed from basic materials, and became a common facet of kiwi culture. Their construction as permanent structures provided better security against the elements and wild animals.

More importantly, the permanence of early bush cabins enabled their owners to arrive without taking undue time to settle in or set up camp. Instead, they take off and enjoy their outdoor pursuits. At a societal level, they did not imbue their owners with hierarchical status, but rather, permeated them with pioneering imagery. Over time, huts and cabins included more amenities, comfort levels increased, and the family bach or crib evolved. Walters denotes this as the second of four distinct shifts in second home creation within New Zealand (with all four stages continuing to co-exist together). While a change occurred between accommodation space and experience, the connection to the outdoors and pioneering spirit remained.


The Influence of Media Portrayals of ASH Buildings.


Archaic Second Homes (ASH) in the form of Cabins, Baches and Cribs are often located with stunning outdoor views.

"Holmemstranda" by Jaime Pérez is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

The often media portrays archaic second homes (ASH) as providing exotic living with the comfort and security of familiar living that people are accustomed to in their home situation

"An autumn day at a summer cabin on the Gatineau River, Quebec, October 1950 / Une journée d’automne à une maisonnette d’été près de la rivière Gatineau, au Québec, en octobre 1950" by BiblioArchives / LibraryArchives is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Archaic second homes (ASH) have provides the inspiration for glamping spaces in harsh exotic locations, providing the comfort and amenity against the elements

"Old log cabin with view of Jerome - Dead Horse Ranch State Park" by Alan English CPA is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Today, increased accessibility to the media has allowed society to tap into a variety of perspectives on almost any subject matter. Alternative realities are readily available for those who search for escape from their own normality and seek fulfilment through engagement with “something else”. These incorporate varying degrees of otherness that mirror the degree of separation from the normalcy that the searcher is comfortable with. Searchers will find portrayals or depictions that are advanced positively; romantic and idyllic; cheerful and light-hearted; calm and reflective; mysterious and peculiar.

The Role of the Media.

Through newspapers and periodicals aimed at a broad audience, the media have been primarily responsible for the nostalgic view and general accessibility of the second home (Walters, 2014). For a large section of society, conceptions of historical forms of second homes invoke a sense of otherness, but also with a degree of familiarity. The connectedness of these early permanent structures is enhanced when they are located within the same country as the searcher. Such constructions would have already manifested themselves during searchers formative education, and their gradual disappearance has been vapourised in the media over several decades:

There has been a proliferation of books and magazine articles dedicated to romanticising the bach, filled with the rhetoric of nostalgia for a lifestyle of simple leisure and pleasure that is perceived to have disappeared.
(Walters, 2014)

The Idea of Doing Something Different.

However, for many, the idea of doing something different appeals, but they also want to enjoy the encounter when they are on holiday. The idea of being stuck in a tent, regardless of whether it is luxurious and fully functional, can be a bridge too far. Here the concept of early permanent structures fulfils that compromise between exotic and familiarity.


Theorising Glamping’s Permanent-Structures in the Context of ASH Buildings.


Glamping spaces that use permanent rigid structures are more able to provide shelter and security in extreme weather, allowing glampers to enjoy the polar regions, and viewing such sights as the Aurora Borealis.

"Canada, The Aurora Borealis and the Milky Way via reddit.com r/space #auroraborealis #milkyway #r/space #reddit #space #bestofinstagram #instaspace #nightsky #skyporn #canada" by Clexow is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The "McDonaldization Thesis" and sense of Familiarity/Exoticism.

Holidays are consumed as “experiences of novelty or breaks from routine but are often also enjoyed through familiarity and continuity” (Chaplin, 1999, p. 51). Commodified tourism “offers the appeal of the exotic combined with the security of familiarity, the thrill of the new with the safety net of the predictable, or in its more extreme forms, adventure, shrink-wrapped” (Chaplin, 1999, p. 51).

However, novelty and change lie on a spectrum, with exotic spaces at one extreme and familiarity at the other. Travellers have varying degrees of acceptance and enjoyment, possessing individual combinations of exoticism/familiarity that they are comfortable with. Chaplin alludes to Ritzer’s “McDonaldization Thesis” in theorising that modernity acts like a cage, which can be perceived as ‘iron’ (cold, harsh, uncomfortable), ‘velvet’ (safe, welcome and predictable), or ‘rubber’ (possible to squeeze through the bars to a more human world) (Chaplin, 1999, p. 53). It is contended that society increasingly seeks a world where the cage is rubberised, where respite can be obtained by squeezing through its bars to zones of relaxation and reflection, where the attributes of the cage’s velvet attributes can be restored and iron characteristics endured.

A Welcome Escape From Normality.

Glamping provides occupiers escape, escape from normality, and at the same time escape to something that can be quite different. Glampers have been able, for a time, to completely squeeze through the rubberised bars of the cage that represents modernity. Glamping Spaces that include eclectic shelter abodes can be far removed from spaces of city regularity that most urbanites experience. Here, familiarity and predictability are drastically reduced from that experienced in packaged mass tourism products. For some, this complete change is welcome, providing release. In doing so, the self-awareness and self-reflection in adopting a different mode of life during a time away can be liberating. Here, there is a bias towards the exotic on the continuum.

Conversely, the Comfort of Familiarity.

For those less comfortable to escape through the rubberised bars, a complete abandonment of normality simply cannot be faced. Here, the cabin provides a means whereby glampers are able to slip through the bars but still hold onto them, not letting go completely. Instead of escape, Gravey suggests that this represents a negation of modernity rather than an escape from it. In this case, the cabin fulfils the desire to take a “vacation from modernity”, where it is seen as a “refuge from modern urban living” (Gravey, 2008, p. 205). Location on the continuum appears more neutral, enabling glampers to remain centred through their encounter.

Travellers and the Familiarity/Exocism Spectrum.

An individual’s position on the exotic/familiarity spectrum is dynamic, progressing loosely in accordance with Pearce’s Travel Careers Ladder (Pearce & Lee, 2005). A revealing outcome of Pearce’s later studies (amongst travellers from western countries) shows that travellers tended to commence their initial travel experiences within western-culture-based countries such as Europe, North America and Australasia. Travellers only proceed to what they would consider exotic lands after obtaining some travel experience. Interestingly, most ASH buildings are also located within westernised countries. Further, it is notable that most glamping sites that incorporate permanent structures within their glamping spaces are also situated within westernised countries and can satisfy the needs of various rungs of Pearce’s Travel Careers Ladder.


Important Characteristics of ASH Buildings Relevant to Glamping’s Permanent Structures.


Attributes of permanent structures in glamping spaces is that they shouldn't contain all the functions required for familiar living in one enclosed space. Often living, kitchen and ablution areas are in different places, generally nestled into the local surroundings, thereby ensuring a closeness to the outdoors

"Indo Kiwi Glamping Sleeping Cabin" by Greg Watt, All Rights Reserved.

A Diversity of Permanent Structures as Second Homes.

Globally, there is diversity in the type of permanent structures fashioned as second homes. Picken (2018) notes that these include the unique attributes and characteristics of New Zealand cribs and baches, Midwest American cabins, Finish and Canadian cottages, as well as Australian shacks, amongst many others. In the United Kingdom, it can be argued that these also include the likes of shepherd’s huts, barns, bothies and roundhouses. Such attributes provide originality and uniqueness, and can be incorporated within glamping spaces making no two glamping-sites the same and avoiding the blandness exhibited by other hospitality types.

Evoking Imagery of the Past.

It is asserted here that popular glamping sites utilising permanent structures have created spaces invoking imagery of early manifestations of second homes. They do not artificially reproduce such representations; instead, they reference those attributes that appeal and are ascribed to by glampers. Of course, where such early constructions have survived and are incorporated, greatly authenticity is obtained. Picken (2018) notes that the Australian beach shack “materialises as an object of nostalgia” which is heightened by its gradual disappearance from the landscape. As a collection, these loosely grouped permanent structures (from around the globe) are saturated with the past. It is asserted here that the popularity of permanent structures in glamping spaces is in many ways a recapturing of the pioneering spirit of ordinary folk from yesteryear and a subsequent reconnection with rurality.

Important Glamping Characteristics.

It is not the purpose of this article to provide a detailed account of, or a succinct analysis of, characteristics of ASH buildings relevant to glamping’s permanent structures. However, some are notable and are worth recounting. Generally, ASH buildings are small, simple affairs, and functionality in and around them is often deconstructed. By necessity, outdoor toilets were fairly universal, and due to a lack of space and use of outside cooking fireplaces, kitchens were hitched up against the exterior walls under verandahs. The main shed or hut contained sleeping areas, small multifunctional alcoves, and perhaps a sitting area to relax. Many popular glamping spaces successfully incorporate an updated architectural take of these archaic characteristics.

Providing a glamping space that is deconstructed, yet, where navigation between functional areas is both easy and comfortable is critical. The fact that glampers have to manoeuvre outside between functional areas provides an ongoing connection and closeness with the surrounding wilderness. However, careful consideration is needed to cater for today’s sensibilities, and above all, the sense of being away from others is paramount. ASH buildings One example places open and disconnected spaces within a Balinese themed garden area. Completely different, another gathers enclosed spaces together (but separated) under three-walled barn structures. The former example is set in a warm, inviting location, and the latter positioned in a remote and exposed place.

Other elements are well established within glamping spaces. The use of outdoor baths is especially pertinent, and many glamping spaces incorporate two baths or a larger hot tub to accommodate couples being together. Privacy is provided either through the site’s remoteness or by appropriately designed screening. Because glamping implies a sense of luxury, ablution areas are supplied as ensuites rather than communal affairs. Identification with ASH buildings can be obtained through the use of exposed and expressed piping, and styles informed from period pieces. Recasting older styles with modern interpretations is an important aspect.

Outdoor fires and firepits provide a further link to rurality for glampers, which is particularly relevant at night-time. Typically, urbanites are not accustomed to spending time under the stars at night, and its novelty is an important aspect. The inclusion of cooking facilities over the firepit adds another dimension. Where this is not possible, barbecue facilities add amenity in conjunction with outdoor kitchens.

Permanent Structures: A Caveat.

A final note regarding the use of permanent structures in glamping spaces. Accommodations with singular configurations, where functionality is integrated within the perimeter of the building, are unlikely to have any association with ASH buildings. Modern holiday homes, AirBnB, hotel or motel based concepts cannot claim any validation of glamping through association with ASH buildings. Further, a fundamental requirement of ASH buildings is the notion that they are singularly placed in areas of wilderness. Placing permanent structures in the vicinity of each other lessens and invalidates their authenticity unless extensive screening of surrounding visual, noise and light activity is undertaken.


Conclusions.


Based on the affinity of permanent structures with Archaic Second Houses (ASH), there is an argument for them to be included as legitimate glamping spaces, alongside nomadic shelter abodes.

"By the Campfire" by Drew Bryden is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

A Qualified Acceptance of Permanent Structures Within Glamping Space.

Is there an argument for the inclusion of permanent structures? If so, it is a qualified acceptance, where the spirit of the concept of glamping remains intact, even if the letter of the concept does not. A strict interpretation of the words forming the portmanteau reveals that there are simply no definitions of camping that don’t make reference to tents. Perceptions surrounding their inclusion is mixed, and clarification from tourism intermediary reports and academic assessments ambivalent. Despite this, permanent structures are involved in a considerable number of glamping spaces.
What then is the nature of; the history of; and the manifestation of specific types of permanent structures that warrants their acceptance as glamping spaces.

The Reasoning Around Civilised Nature/Untamed Bush Representations.

An argument is put forward that an essential starting point for glamping is an engagement with rurality and the wilderness. Taking New Zealand as an exemplar, society has engaged with the outdoors as civilised nature and as untamed bush, with the creation of camping grounds in the case of the former, and early-period or archaic second-homes in the latter. It is inferred that similar mechanisms developed throughout the UK, Europe, North America and Australasia. In this fashion, it is reasoned that the two forms of leisure and recreation converged and have informed glamping today. The case for permanent structures has been fuelled, over decades, by nostalgic writings within newspaper and magazine interest columns regarding archaic second-homes (ASH).

Travellers Sense of Familiarity/Exoticisim its Crucial.

It is theorised that travellers have individual perspectives concerning the degree of exoticism and familiarity they are comfortable with while on holiday. It is asserted that these perspectives are interrelated and lie on a continuum. This is consistent with Ritzer’s “McDonalization Thesis” which places individuals within a cage of modernity. It is possible to escape from the cage, if only for a time, and this can be liberating for some and disquieting for others. Glamping provides the ability to escape modernity and reconnect with nature, leaving behind the rigidity and constructs of their everyday lives.

The apparent increasing popularity of permanent structures in glamping space is attributed to the anxiety that some feel when surrounded by shelter abode glamping. Permanent structure glamping allows travellers to hold on to the bars of the cage of modernity while still experiencing a release from it. Constructions of permanent structure glamping are similar to those around their everyday lives, and have been moderated by media representations of ASH buildings. As a consequence, travellers are able to sit comfortably in position on the exoticism/familiarity continuum.

Authors Note:

As an aside, it is clear that the concept of modern camping grounds do not, and cannot provide the crucial attributes necessary for glamping sites. That is, unless fundamental configurational changes are adopted. Providing upgraded stand-alone tents and comforts across a densely packed area simply elevates that accommodation. The concept of glamping spaces (including shelter-abodes) includes the accommodation, the immediate space around it, the spaces of the tourist facility (say, the glamping-site or camping ground), and the setting and surrounding environment. It also goes without saying that changing accommodation types from shelter-abodes to permanent structures does not instil any magical formulation allowing disregard for careful consideration of the basic tenets of glamping.


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