Research shows that 250,000 motorhomes were in use in the UK in 2020 and 15,000 were registered last year.
And now Dumfries and Galloway Council are trying to “tap into this valuable economic source”.
Councillors this week discussed plans to attract more motorhome visitors and improve the motorhome offering in the region.
Officials have identified that the situation locally is ‘confused’ and there needs to be better communication about where motorhomes can park overnight, with a need for more small scale overnight parking with basic amenities, known as ‘aires’.
A spokesman said: “We found that there is some parking outside of allowed areas, particularly in the west, and good provision of campsites in D&G, but very little motorhome specific provision and quickly realised that this was an untapped opportunity.”
A successful pilot has now taken place at Kirkcudbright swimming pool, which received £1000 to put in three spaces, electrical points, and waste disposal. The site launched in September, and they had 121 overnight stays at £10 a night, plus 31 waste disposals at £4, giving an income of £1334 and a potential income of £5-6k per annum.
Feedback from pool managers found that the site was low maintenance and the extra income helped offset their rising energy costs. To encourage further provision of similar facilities and promote and attract more touring visitors to the region, grants of up to £5000 per site are to be made available to private and community organisations that want to set up something similar.
Funding will be dependent on the organisation gaining certified status from organisations such as Motorhome Fun, however no planning permission will be required and up to five motorhomes will be allowed per aire.
Guidance is drawn up to help interested parties and the campaign is going to be a key part of the council’s visitor management programme for 2022.
Depute council leader Rob Davidson is backing the initiative and explained they hope it will result in 15 new aires, each with an average of four bays. That would create nearly 22,000 spaces a year. VisitScotland estimate an occupancy rate of 41 per cent would generate an income to the aire owners of £90,000.
He said: “This is an excellent proposal, and one that proved very popular in our initial trial last year.
“Tourism is one of our most important economic sectors in our beautiful rural region. The average tourist to Scotland spends £28 per day in the local economy making a potential extra income into the region of over £500k.”
- Motorhome above from Ben Hodgson cars