Positive vibes from Korean camping show

The camping and leisure vehicle market in South Korea looks to be in excellent health after the country’s biggest exhibition on the topic, the Camping & Picnic Fair, hosted a very successful event this month. The show took place at the Center KINTEX exhibition hall in Seoul from 4 to 7 March and attracted 72,000 visitors through its doors, all with the correct COVID-19 safety protocols in place. There were 112 companies taking up more than 22,000sqm of floorspace showing products in categories such as tents, camping cars, motorhomes, caravans, trailers, tarps, camping accessories and picnic goods. 

This was the ninth edition of the show, which has steadily grown over the years to become the central show in the camping industry in South Korea. There is no specific B2B show there, so the Camping & Picnic Fair serves a double purpose as a show for both consumers and the trade, and carries it off very successfully.

One company that exhibited at the show for the first time was German RV door manufacturer Konrad Baur GmbH. Its CEO, Benjamin Baur, told Camping Trade World: “This was our first time showing our products at the Camping & Picnic Fair – our exclusive Korean dealer GCT International represented us. I would have loved to be there to help our dealer with concrete answers to requests by potential customers and also to show personal presence in this market [but I could not, due to COVID travel restrictions].

“We want to grow more in this market. We found a very good partner, which is the basis for growing business there. Although the Korean RV market is not too big yet, they are bringing constant numbers and high quality vehicles. So yes, for us it is a very interesting market!”

One thing the show organisers and the industry in South Korea as a whole is keen to do with the growth of the camping market there is to create a sustainable camping culture that can sustain the industry for many years to come.

What’s the Korean camping market like?

Like most countries in the Northern Hempisphere, South Korea has four distinct seasons with a hot and humid summer and a cold, frosty and snowy winter. It’s landscape is mountainous and it is surrounded by coastline on three sides – so there is plenty of natural beauty and nice environments for campers to enjoy. 

Like most countries, since the COVID-19 pandemic, the interest in camping has boomed in the country, backed up by good media exposure. Koreans have bought into the idea of being able to self-contained on their holidays, but also enjoy nature.

To combine with this surge of interest in camping, in 2019 the Korean government relaxed regulations on vehicle modifications in the country, which meant that more SUVs, vans and buses could easily be converted into camping vechicles. In Korea they call this trend Chabak, which literally translates as “I sleep in the car.”

This Chabak trend has created an entirely new market of items being produced to help people enjoy it more, examples include tarps and shelters that can be customised to vehicles.

The Korean camping market, led by the Camping & Picnic Fair, is doing its bit to ensure new people in the hobby of camping carry it out in a safe, sensible and sustainable way by launching an educational campaign called How To Be A Better Camper. This is to establish rules of etiquette for newcomers after some social behavioural problems with the influx of people trying camping out in light of the pandemic.

Check out our image gallery below, thanks to Camping & Picnic Fair for the photos.