On 25th November, a very special celebration took place for all of us who are part of this great family that is the caravanning sector.
65 years ago, in 1957, in a small workshop in Tuset Street in Barcelona, an insurance appraiser and camping enthusiast, Don Pedro Martínez Aznar, began to build what was to be the first Spanish-made caravan.
Those who stroll along this street today, enjoying its leisure and gastronomic offer, probably do so unaware that, in that place, a vehicle barely 4 metres long, raised on a U-shaped metal frame, with no brakes and with the interior and exterior cladding made of papier-mâché, was manufactured and gave birth to Caravanas Tuset.
Three years later, that first "caravan" was sold for 60,000 pesetas (the currency of the time in Spain) at the International Trade Fair in Barcelona to an exhibition organiser who wanted to use it as a home for his employees.
Much has happened since then, and after 65 years, caravanning is at its peak in our country. Many are those who have set their sights on this way of spending their holidays, their free time, and even their new way of life. Although we still have a lot of work to do to catch up with the rest of Europe, as they started using this type of vehicle for recreation and as an alternative home much earlier.
Some of those pioneering businessmen of the sector are the ones who have promoted the idea of celebrating that first entrepreneurial vision of the sector, and ASEICAR, together with GREMCAR, have been in charge of its organisation and of carrying it out.
The event took place at the Mas de Sant Llei, in Vilanova del Vallés, in the province of Barcelona; it was attended by more than 200 entrepreneurs from the sector and was presided over by the Director General of Tourism of the Generalitat, Ms. Marta Doménech.
And, as could not be otherwise, Caravanas Cruz was present, with the attendance of its founder, Mr. José Cruz, and the eldest of his sons, José Antonio Cruz; representing one of the first companies in the sector in Spain, and the first of the Spanish Levante, and that with 47 years of existence, can boast of being, not only of the pioneers, but of the longest-lived in the sector.
José Cruz in the middle.
The celebration of this anniversary had very illustrative moments, analysing the evolution of the sector since that first vehicle, going through the appearance of new national manufacturers such as Moncayo, Roller, Catusa, Sanchis, etc..., the expansion throughout the rest of the country, and ending by analysing the current situation of the sector. In addition, a small sample of vehicles from the 70s, donated by private individuals, was on display.
But it also had emotional moments when the veterans of the sector dedicated a few words to the attendees, or the viewing of the Spanish News of the time (NO-DO) talking about those "new" vehicles, or remembering those who were part of the history of caravanning and who are no longer with us.
Undoubtedly a day to remember, a day to celebrate and a day in which a well-deserved tribute was paid to all those brave people who dared to do something "different" and who today continue to fight for this way of travelling and living to continue to develop and occupy the place it deserves.