Tourism operators and regional Australia benefit from families choosing camping this school holidays.
As COVID restrictions ease and the new normal starts, the desire to travel and escape remains strong with families choosing a camping holiday.
The ability to remain close to home, enjoy an intrastate holiday while also having an array of options puts camping 'front of mind'.
While we live and learn to live with COVID, it is important that businesses and people remain responsible and a camping holiday certainly allows people to be safe and responsible, with caravan parks having COVID specific plans in place regarding check-in, shared facilities and cleaning.
"Camping has always been a popular but natural social distancing, no overseas travel and the safety provided by a camping holiday is proving a winner also with those new to camping. We are seeing interest from people who normally may choose an overseas or alternative style of holiday, which is fantastic" said Keelan Howard – GM of Marketing & Communications, Caravan Industry Association of Australia.
Also, we must not underestimate the importance of the health and wellbeing benefits. Camping lets people take that much needed break in this tough time that is vital for their wellbeing, reconnecting with family and nature makes a 'happy camper'.
The latest accommodation insights for caravan parks show occupancy increase across the country which highlights the significant role that the caravan and camping industry can play in the recovery and success of Australian regional tourism.
As school holidays commenced in some states, there was a rise in caravan park occupancy. The national figures for the week beginning 29th June showed the highest occupancy in more than two months as cabin occupancy reached 51% and powered sites reached 36%, from lows of 16% and 9%.
Queensland and Victoria where holidays have started showed very promising levels, with 64% (Vic) and 62% (QLD) occupancy in cabins, and 54% (QLD) occupancy in powered sites for the week beginning 29th June.
These school holiday insights show some very promising, albeit gradual, restoration of confidence among the caravan and camping travellers, plus new campers indicating an investment in domestic camping road trips would be beneficial to the tourism sustainability.
While across the board there is still a long way back to the levels of visitation experienced in 2019, considering this year that has been fraught with hard hits to businesses, workers and visitors alike, there are now some green shoots showing.
"This speaks to the important role that caravan and camping has in the recovery of regional communities as we find a way to operate in the new normal" said Mr Howard.
Figures for those states who started school holidays in late June show that caravan and camping trips has been a popular mode of travel for families choosing to hit the road in search of reconnection and adventure away from the confides of their homes, while also being able to practice social distancing.
In Victoria, the appeal of self-contained cabins for families getting away was evident with cabin occupancy reaching 64% in first week of school holidays, demonstrating that the winter weather was no barrier for those able to get out and travel again.
Compared to many other types of travel, caravan and camping is a very independent way to take a trip without the risk of shared lifts and lobbies and to get out into nature. It also facilitates greater regional dispersal, meaning that happy campers can make a greater impact on regional communities who rely on tourism dollars.
As school holidays continue across the country and some restrictions ease in parts on the country, for many Australians this is the perfect time to plan and book your next caravan or camping trip.