Building additional campgrounds is a tourism business opportunity available to the private landowners surrounding Dinosaur Provincial Park. Over 100,000 tourists visit the park each year, placing significant strain on the campground accommodations within the park itself.
The immediate benefit of expanding privatized campsites is the addressing of these demand issues. There are not enough spots to meet demand via provincial park services during the summer, and as the visitor rate to the region climbs, this disparity will be exacerbated.
Creating additional camping space on the privately owned land around Dinosaur Provincial Park will, therefore, increase the accommodation capacity of the region and introduce tourists to the surrounding areas. These campgrounds will also meet market demand for more local or private camping accommodations.
The business will be a campground, divided into a number of pitches, where people can camp overnight using tents, camper vans, or caravans. The campground will be operational six months of the year, during the peak camping season from May to October. The campground will be based on private land; where the land and the campground will most likely be owned by the same individual.
Investing in private camping sites via privately owned land, farms, or indeed smaller properties will provide the opportunity to broaden the services provided to campers. It is possible to cater to different age groups via infrastructure strategies as well as levels of service.
Services other than accommodations may also be offered at the campground. Wood may be available for sale for use in cooking or for a campfire. Sundries may also be offered for sale, such as toothpaste, toilet paper, snacks, and drinks. A portable toilet or outhouse, as well as a portable camping shower, may also be offered as a free amenity or for a fee.
Tailoring the experiences of various sites will be further compounded by other initiatives, such as the development of agri-tourism, which could be extended to include on-site camping facilities for participating farms for example. Activities such as horseback riding or ATV rentals may also be an option at the campground.
There are two likely potential locations to build additional campgrounds. The first is the privately owned land surrounding Dinosaur Provincial Park that has badlands terrain. The second is the agricultural farmland near the hamlet Patricia, which is the nearest community to Dinosaur Provincial Park.
Apart from a camp pitch, raised platforms may also be included on which to set up tents. Marked spaces indicating the boundary for one camper or a group of campers may also be necessary.
The campgrounds may also include fireplaces or fire pits in which to build campfires. These can be anything from a circle of rock, a metal enclosure, a metal grate, a concrete spot, or even a simple hole. Picnic tables may also be included for campers to eat their meals. Garbage cans will also likely be necessary for campers to place their refuse.
Pit toilets or a portable toilet will be needed on site. Similarly, a portable camp shower will also likely be needed. These battery-powered shower heads are able to turn water from a bucket into a shower stream.
Campers will likely be arriving by vehicle, necessitating road access to the campsite. A gravel or concrete pad on which to park a vehicle may also be a necessity, particularly for those tourists arriving in recreational vehicles. Utility hookups, such as electricity and water, would be useful for travel trailers and recreational vehicles as well.
The following checklist should be used when determining site eligibility:
- Check zoning
- Ensure proper permits are in place
- Confirm business can operate on the designated land
- Check environmental regulations and species protection
- Determine legal and insurance requirements
Campers will be attracted to the privately owned campgrounds for two reasons. First, the core market demographic will be tourists visiting Dinosaur Provincial Park when the campground is full during the peak summer season.
Private campgrounds located near the park will benefit from overflow tourists seeking alternative accommodation options. These tourists are unlikely to prefer hotel accommodations due to the higher price range and distance from the park. Other provincial park campgrounds are also available, but at a further distance.
The second group of tourists will be those that prefer private campgrounds to the camping facilities at Dinosaur Provincial Park. This may be because the private campgrounds may be less crowded or offer more privacy and a quiet atmosphere. The personalized service at a private campground may also be appealing to campers.
Campers are a loyal demographic, returning to the same region and indeed the same site year after year, and sometimes even for generations. Families are a prime target market for these campgrounds for this reason.
The major expenses for the campground will be providing road and utility access. For the purposes of this financial assessment, it is estimated that creating road access and gravel pads will cost approximately $20k. In addition, it is estimated that electricity and water access will be another $20k over the five year period of the business plan. It is also assumed that the campground will be self-staffed by the business owner. These costs may be significantly lower depending on the accessibility of the sites chosen.
Additional expenses are estimated to be $3k for two portable toilets, $1k for two portable showers, and $2.5k for ten fire pits.
In terms of revenues, the average rate for campsites at Dinosaur Provincial Park is $30/night. It is also estimated that visitors to each campsite will spend $10/night on sundries, such as bottled water, toothpaste, snacks, etc. Overall, it is assumed that five campsites will be created in the campground, where occupancy will be 80% between the May-October peak tourist season.