GANGNEUNG, July 29 (Korea Bizwire) — Lodging businesses in eastern coastal areas, already hit by the coronavirus pandemic, are suffering from a decreasing number of customers due to the popularity of car camping.
Large campervans are a common sight on seaside roads and in beach parking lots recently, as automobile camping gains popularity, allowing vacationers to avoid contact with people while spending time outdoors.
Small-scale tourist accommodations at beaches in Gangneung, 240 kilometers east of Seoul, saw reservations fall to 80 percent of last year’s level, according to industry sources. In rural areas, booking rates are less than 50 percent of last year’s.
While the slump is largely attributable to the coronavirus and recent lower-than-average temperatures, a growing number of campers who sleep in their cars is also a factor.
“There are so many people sleeping in their camping cars,” an owner of an accommodation facility said.
“In the summer vacation season, East Sea beaches have always been bustling with people, but we have nothing to do now because there are so few customers,” he said.
Local residents complain of litter around camping cars and shortages of parking spaces. Seashore cafes and restaurants also worry that parked cars spoil their views.