An award-winning entrepreneur from North Wales is hoping to take advantage of the growing taste for luxury camping with a new dedicated glamping construction company.

Gareth Jones, head of the Carbon Zero Group, is aiming to build on a tripling of turnover in 2015 with ambitious expansion plans, taking on up to 17 new members of staff to take the total workforce to 35.

Glamping is becoming increasingly popular and Mr Jones believes it’s the right time to tap into the growing market.

The glamping market is estimated to be worth £1.8bn in the UK by 2017 and Mr Jones believes there is huge potential in Wales, especially as 2016 has been designated as the Year of Adventure by the Welsh Government’s Tourism and Culture Minister Ken Skates.

Mr Jones, who lives in Old Colwyn and is based in St Asaph, is offering customers complete packages, including planning, design, construction and even the furnishing.

He is also planning to expand his renewable energy company, Carbon Zero, into Ireland where new tariffs are making solar power an attractive proposition.

In addition, he’s joined forces with former TV Gladiator Diane Youdale – aka Jet – to run courses to combat absenteeism at work via his training company You Train, which he established with fellow director Steve Williams.

Mr Jones, who is also North Wales president of the Federation of Master Builders, said: “We’re expanding our existing offices in St Asaph and opening a new office in Mochdre to allow us to grow and create new employment opportunities, so it’s an exciting year and we’re looking forward to 2016 and beyond.

“We still see solar as a big part of our business, with other technologies such as battery storage coming online in the coming months, thanks to the likes of Tesla and its Powerwall.

“But the biggest part of the growth of the group is the leisure business, and it’s got potential for significant growth.

“We’re working with existing camping and caravan sites to utilise areas of land that may not be suitable for existing business but would be perfect for glamping pods, and domes, which offer a fantastic return as an investment.

“In Wales, 2016 is the Year of Adventure so we feel that the timing is perfect and we’re looking to install around 1,000 accommodation units over the next five years that will generate hundreds of millions of pounds into the Welsh economy.”

The company offers two packages. The first is aimed at weekend breaks and is an eco-dome designed for two people. It comes with solar-powered ventilation, a log burner, decking and a hot tub.

The other is a six-berth safari tent which also comes with deck and a hot tub, and is aimed at family stays instead of a static caravan. It’s a full self-catering accommodation with en-suite, a full kitchen, and even a 4-poster bed.

Both the packages come fully furnished so the only thing the client has to do is to put the towels in and put the bedding on the bed.

Mr Jones added: “Glamping is ideal for North Wales. We’ve got an abundance of fantastic hotels but what we are lacking is alternative accommodation like glamping which is going to be perfect for adventure seekers as well as family breaks. We’re offering packages to suit both sectors.

“We’ve had many caravan and camping park owners interested and we’ve already been in talks for a project in the Denbighshire area for a site for 10 of the eco-domes.”

Mr Jones said he was also excited about the potential of the solar market in Ireland, where there is a commitment to reduce the country’s carbon footprint by 40% by 2050.

He added: “They have identified solar power as a key ingredient in the mix, not least because it is very quickly and easily deployed. They are creating a tariff scheme, very similar to here in the UK, where if you have solar panels fitted you’ll get paid for it.

“Because the Irish market is very new, there are very few installers there so we believe there is a very good opportunity for an experienced installer to go and develop a successful business in Ireland. We are the largest solar installer close to the market and feel we are in a great position to capitalise on this opportunity.”

Original Article via Wales Online – http://www.walesonline.co.uk/business/business-news/eco-domes-safari-tents-entrepreneur-10739425

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