Car mobility and camping tourism in Norway, 1950-1970
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionJournal of Tourism History. 2014, 5 (3), 287-304. 10.1080/1755182X.2014.938777
This article examines the development of car camping as a major leisure activity in Norway during the years between 1950 and 1970. In the 1920s, tourists travelling by bus, train and bicycle were the first to camp. A few years later, in the 1930s, a small number of car owners, armed with simple tents, established campsites near rivers, lakes and the seaside. By the late 1950s and 1960s, car camping boomed. This development took place in the same period that Norwegian car politics went through major shifts. From 1948 and during the 1950s, the political elite described the private car as a problem and a potential burden on the national economy. Consequently, authorities strictly limited importation and sale of private cars. They suddenly removed these restrictions in October 1960, however. From that point forward, the automobile joined the television as a vital element of modern Norwegian society. It is interesting that many soon associated car ownership with camping activities; indeed, camping became an argument for widespread car use, bolstering the case against government restrictions on private vehicles. Soon car imports increased and campsites proliferated.