New figures from outdoor booking platform Pitchup have revealed that more than 50% of the UK campsite owners on its platform are women which, it says, proves that women are starting to play a bigger role in agri-tourism.

The release of the new data has coincided with International Women’s Day today (Wednesday, March 8), with Pitchup saying the UK has one of the highest figures across Europe in terms of female campsite owners.

The UK is leading other countries in the representation of women in this sector of the agri-tourism industry, with women making up just 26% of campsite owners on the platform in Germany; 28% in Spain; 36% in Italy; and 41% in France.

Brand marketing manager for Pitchup, Brodie Farrow, said: “The feedback we’ve heard from site owners in the UK is that our sector provides enjoyable and often lucrative careers for women, so we’re glad to see that the results reflect this.

“In fact, our top earning campsite so far this year is owned by a woman, with sales topping £160,000. Pitchup itself is made up of 60% women, many in senior leadership roles, which we are very proud of.”

Women in agri-tourism

Pitchup said more than 33% of the campsites listed on its platform are on working farms, with agri-tourism becoming a popular form of diversification, supporting farms through the reductions in subsidies, increasing costs and unpredictable weather.

Although 80% of farm holders are men, agri-tourism and the outdoor accommodation sector appears to be offering equal opportunities for both men and women, it said.

Lesley Nicholas, owner of Girt Down Farm in Devon, said she originally joined Pitchup to try and make a difference to her farm’s income.

Lesley Nicholas

“I am part of a women in farming group on Exmoor and we meet regularly and look at ways that we can make a difference to our farm income – always the main topic of conversation since the government is cutting payments to farmers and we are trying to make up the shortfall,” she said.

“I first came across Pitchup in the summer of 2020. With the pandemic meaning no one could go abroad, I knew there were problems getting accommodation locally.

“Always looking for ways to diversify, I thought a campsite could work for us.”

Nicholas said she decided to fill in an application only expecting to get five or six bookings a week.

“Little did I know by the time I went to bed that evening I had 30 bookings with the first arriving in the morning,” she said.

“This first family still visits every summer, along with many others who return as they love the beautiful views and friendly farmer (my husband) who actually interacts with everyone knowing most by name, like he does the sheep. We have been open for 3 summers now and have enjoyed it immensely.