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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The travel media goes glamping

As the cool camping phenom- enon was peaking in the UK last year, ‘glamping’ was starting to gain momentum in North America, where travel journalists admitted the trend had just recently traversed the Atlantic: “It’s known as “glamping,” or glamorous camping, a British import inspired by A-listers who wanted to be in touch with nature without touching the dirt and dishes,” the Seattle Times' CeCe Sullivan reported last May in Gather ’round the haute-grub campfire: “The tents are spacious; according to reports some are lined with antique saris and Persian carpets, and some feature fluffy down comforters tossed over mattresses that never touch the ground.” In case we'd forgotten, a few months later in the same paper Kimi Yoshino reminded us in Glamorous camping: tent, butler, $595 a night: “The number of visits to U.S. national parks is declining, but “glamping” — glamorous camping — is on the rise in North America after gaining popularity among wealthy travelers in Africa and England, where luxury tents come with Persian rugs and electricity to power blow dryers.” As one glamper tells us in that story: “It’s nature on a silver platter”. It’s a shame that level of quality and finesse didn't make it into the writing and that much of the glamping coverage dished out wasn’t worth dirtying a paper plate for - most publications ran with the same 'Ditch the smelly sleeping bag and go glamping' and ‘Where Wild Meets Refined’ angles, the same hackneyed ‘tick-off’ technique (“Gourmet chef – check. Wi-fi and laptops outside by the fire – check. $75 cigars, expensive liquor and wine – check”), and the same lack of creativity many of their UK counterparts applied to their ‘cool camping’ trend, with the same text used time and time again. Don't you hate that?

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