By Alan Inveraray
In 1962, the Caravan Salon started as a small exhibition in Essen, Germany. In its debut year it attracted 34,500 visitors and had 61 exhibitors showcasing their products. The fair's initial success indicated the growing interest in caravanning in Europe.
Move to Düsseldorf
Due to its rapid growth and the need for a more spacious venue, the Caravan Salon moved to Düsseldorf in 1971. The Messe Düsseldorf offered a more expansive exhibition space, allowing for a broader range of exhibitors and more visitors.
During the decades from the the 1980s to 2000, the fair witnessed steady growth both in the number of attendees and exhibitors. The focus expanded beyond just caravans and motorhomes to include tents, mobile homes, camping equipment and other travel accessories. Technological advancements in the industry also started to take centre stage at the fair. By the late 2000s, the event was attracting well over 160,000 visitors annually, while the number of exhibitors crossed the 500 mark.
21st Century Innovations and Trends
The fair became a platform for showcasing innovation in the caravan industry, with a focus on sustainability, luxury, and digital integration. As environmental concerns became paramount, many exhibitors showcased eco-friendly models, electric RVs and sustainable travel solutions. Digital technology integration became a trend, with smart motorhomes and caravans featuring prominently in the late 2010s and early 2020s.
Like many global events, the Caravan Salon also had to navigate the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the interest in caravanning and motorhomes grew during this period as it offered a safer, individualised travel alternative. This was reflected in the fair's continued relevance and attendance.
While specific year-by-year statistics are extensive, here are some notable figures:
1962: 34,500 visitors and 61 exhibitors.
Late 2000s: Over 160,000 visitors annually, with exhibitor numbers surpassing 500.
Last Year: More than 235,000 visitors from 72 countries, plus 736 exhibitors from 34 countries in 16 halls