Caravan parks are set to welcome their first reservations, though without interstate travellers and the usual Grey Nomad influx, they still face an uncertain few months.
Caravan parks are set to welcome their first reservations, though without interstate travellers and the usual Grey Nomad influx, they still face an uncertain few months.

Tourist parks face uncertainty without grey nomads

CARAVAN parks are set to welcome their first reservations from June 13, though without interstate travellers and the usual Grey Nomad influx, they still face an uncertain few months.

As stage two of the government's roadmap is implemented from midnight June 12, camping and accommodation, including caravan parks, will be allowed to welcome guests from within a maximum of 250km of their homes.

Caravan Industry Association of Australia said in a statement that "caravan and camping travellers are seven times more likely to take a holiday in the next three months than the rest of Australians".

According to Tourism Research Australia, more than 500,000 travellers indicated they would take a camping trip within two months, news which is welcomed by caravan parks around Bowen.

Bowen Harbour Lights Caravan Park manager Tina Osborne said they welcomed the news but were concerned that, without the usual Grey Nomad travellers, the whole town would feel the impact.

"We're getting backpackers as long as they have come here for a job but the park is very quiet," she said.

"Whether or not the Grey Nomads are coming this year will be the big difference to the park and the town.

"A lot of them will be frightened to travel as they do fall in that at risk age bracket."

Visitor information and tourism officer in Collinsville Brett Murphy said it was difficult to gauge what the future would hold but expected it to be a substantially quieter year.

"We don't have reservations at the RV park, so they pretty much just arrive when they arrive," he said.

"I expect we will have a very slow season, drought, bushfires and then COVID-19.

"A lot of travellers were driving home through bushfires, going home to protect their house. A lot of those lost their homes, so they won't be travelling."

Mr Murphy said the council and the tourist information centres were pushing to get tourists from within the drive markets to visit the region. .

"Overseas tourists won't be coming so we need domestic travellers," he said.

"Those people who are sitting at home bored, hopefully they'll get out, see the outback, see the places they haven't had time to or been able to.

"I think we'll see a lot of that, but I'm pretty much certain we'll see a fair reduction in numbers this year."

The Caravan Industry Association of Australia said in the statement that the caravan and camping sector could lead the road to recovery for regional tourism.

"This has the potential to kickstart the recovery for tourism and inject over $292 million dollars directly into the hands of regional tourism operators who rely on caravanners and campers travelling to experience a wide variety of attractions."

"With restrictions beginning to ease in parts of the country, this is great news for the many regional communities who rely on this market to support local jobs.

"With over 711,000 registered RV's and thousands of freestanding roofed accommodation options, it presents a massive opportunity for towns all around Australia."


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