Pop-Up Camps making way for campers

Pitches instead of festivals - Hanseatic start-up launches platform for campsites
07 July 2020
Family camping holiday

The Hamburg-based start-up Pop-Up Camps has set up an online platform to help campers find that last-minute pitch this summer – even in the wake of a pandemic. This comes after the tourist industry bemoaned a lack of campsites, illegal camping, pollution and chaotic traffic - a situation which is not alleviated by corona-related restrictions. Holidays in 2020 call for space and patience as the demand for holiday homes and campsites in Germany has risen since lockdown.

Pitches instead of festivals

Corona-compliant camps all over Germany can be offered and booked on the Pop-Up Camps’ platform. A former military site on the Pütnitz peninsula in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, an industrial museum east of Dessau on a peninsula in Lake Gremmin, both of which normally host festivals, are now open to campers. The former is the venue of the annual Pangea festival while the latter is the scene of diverse waterborne events. 

Those who have not fared well during the crisis are now to coming to the rescue: "Our event areas are equipped with a perfect, basic periphery, but are currently not in use due to the ban on events," said Hans Jensen, creator of the Pangea festival. "So, we are glad to help manage the crisis with our Campea pop-up camp." Both the organisers of big festivals and local businesses in rural areas welcome some semblance of normalcy in the changed era. 

Pop-up camps as mediators

The Hamburg-based film and event production company, bsp Media GmbH, hit on the idea for pop-up camps amid corona. "Random camping poses a huge challenge for communities in 2020. This is where we come in and want to mediate between campers and property owners," said Jobst von Paepcke, Managing Director of bsp media.

The company negotiates with both the organisers of big events and private individuals who have space for one to three camping vehicles on their properties. Their offers are then advertised free of charge on the platform. The start-up is also setting up legal parking spaces in a 330,000 hectare forest as part of a pilot project with state forestries in Lower Saxony. Guests receive proof of accommodation, contact tracing is put in place as well as an online booking system and check-in to adhere to restrictions on contact. The provider decides on the price, availability and regulations. However, the campsites do not provide infrastructure such as water and electricity supply or waste disposal.

Jobst van Paepke
© Pop-up Camps GmbH
Jobst von Paepcke, founder of Pop-up-Camps

Need for political support 

The political framework is also proving a challenge: "Over the last seven weeks we have approached 140 organisers and worked to obtain the required permits," said von Paepcke. "It is now up to politicians to offer a legal alternative throughout the country to counteract random camping quickly and to give owners of large sites legal, secure and unbureaucratic permits under which they can change tack and offer pop-up camps for the time being.
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