The surge in popularity for RVing in Australia is facing a roadblock as the number of campgrounds decline, according to a report by The Age, Melbourne.
Currently, there are 474,000 RVs registered in Australia, including trailers, popups, camper trailers and luxurious motorhomes with solar power, leather interiors, flat-screen TVs and fully equipped kitchens. RV registrations increased by 14.7% between 2008 and 2011, according to the latest figures from the Caravan, RV and Accommodation Industry of Australia.
Chief executive of the main industry group Stuart Lamont said the strong growth was continuing, with Australians looking for ”better value” holidays.
The RVing boom, though, is creating a crisis, according to research from Southern Cross University. It warns that as more RVs hit the road, older-style caravan parks are simultaneously closing at an alarming rate, selling out to property developers who are building apartments and hotels on prime parcels of land next to rivers and beaches.
”Where the bloody hell are all the caravanners going to go?” asks Rod Caldicott, an academic at the university’s school of tourism and hospitality management who has written a research paper on the topic. ”Both grey nomads and younger, adventure-seeking families are looking to use the services of caravan parks but there is less choice for them. Without some serious management of that situation, we will have a crisis.”
He said short and longterm site capacity of parks decreased by 8% and 13% respectively between 2000 and 2009, with caravan registrations increasing by 257% between 1995 and 2005.
Caldicott said regulatory burdens and rising costs, including council rates, were making it harder for caravan parks to stay open, noting, ”As their land value goes up, they are being rated out of existence. Return from revenue can’t match the rise in rates.”
Lamont said there were still 170,000 sites available around Australia each night, although some coastal parks were being turned into lifestyle villages or high-rise buildings. ”We still have occupancy rates of 54%. There is pressure in peak times [to get a site], but outside peak times a lot of these places are empty.”
Australians would rather take to the road in recreational vehicles than buy a holiday home, a survey has found.
Conducted by research company Pure Profile for caravan and motorhome producer Jayco Australia, the online survey quizzed more than 1,000 people with 56% saying they would rather take the mobile holiday option.
According to The Australian, the survey also found 62% believed buying an RV was a more cost-efficient option while about 50% said they would prefer to take to the road because they could meet more people.
Jayco marketing director Andrew Ryan said recreational vehicle holidays were becoming a more cost-effective option for people wanting to get out and see more of Australia.
“Purchasing an RV allows you the freedom to get out and go where you want, when you want, compared to a traditional hotel holiday,” Ryan said. “The maintenance costs are also substantially less compared to owning a holiday house, making owning an RV a more achievable dream for many Australians.”
The Jayco survey also revealed 63% of people would consider buying an RV instead of holidaying overseas with the same number indicating the cost of hotel accommodation deterred them from taking a break. Sixty-four percent said they would go on holidays more often if they owned an RV.
Queensland, Australia, can boost tourism dollars if it places priority on the “cashed-up” recreational vehicle market, according to the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia (CMCA).
According to the e-Travel Blackboard, CMCA director Ken Kipping said RV travelers currently spend over $5 billion nationally each year, with Queensland receiving over $3 billion of that.
“With Baby Boomers only just hitting retirement age, we are perched on the crest of a tidal wave,” Kipping said.
As the mining boom dominates accommodations in many central and southeast Queensland regional towns, the reliance on commercial accommodation is less for RV travelers.
“RV travelers stay for a long time, spend on high value tours and local services,” Kipping pointed out.
Recreational vehicles, such as campervans, motorhomes, caravans and camper trailers are being produced in record numbers and to meet demand there is a need for more non-commercial and other low cost accommodations, according to Kipping.
RV travelers will spend up to $20,000 on an average trip of 156 days, resulting in a significant injection of cash into regional and remote towns.
“A modest investment by local and state government into rest areas and low cost non-commercial accommodation with waste services will attract significant interstate and overseas RV travelers to regional towns,” Kipping added.
CMCA suggests changes to caravan park policies should allow councils to provide accommodation for RVs in country showgrounds, racetracks, local and state reserves when not in use.
“RV travelers aren’t looking for a free ride; they are prepared to pay for access to non-commercial accommodation,” Kipping said. “The bottom line is they are looking for an authentic regional experience.”
Aussies are rediscovering Australia in a “road trip” style of discovery, with new figures showing caravanning and camping trips are on the rise, according to a press release.
Despite a tough economic dollar slowing down domestic travel, Caravan RV & Accommodation Industry of Australia (CRVA) research found that between 2008 and 2011 up to 14.7% more travelers took their vacations to the road with over 474,000 registered RV products throughout Australia.
Of the Australian states, Western Australia held the highest combined caravan and campervan registration per 1,000 people to 29.8 per 1,000 followed by Tasmania and South Australia.
Citing better value in “on-the-road” vacations, CRVA chief executive Stuart Lamont said people see it as the “most affordable holiday” with the bonus of lifestyle and health benefits.
“It’s the freedom from daily routines that is so appealing about a caravan and camping holiday,” Lamont explained. “Bonding with like-minded people over happy hour, swapping recipes and travel stories and making friends for life- these priceless experiences you have on the road are what matters most.”
Lamont added that caravan and camping holidays are also playing a role in maintaining domestic holidays and the number of Aussies exploring their homeland.
“Caravanning and camping promotes Australians holidaying at home, and offers one of the best value holiday options in Australia today, in many cases supporting regional communities due to the locations of caravan holiday parks, and the nature of caravanning and camping,” he said.
According to the company’s findings, up to 7 million Australians have visited a caravan holiday park in the last two years with a further 9.3 million planning a holiday in the caravanning and holiday parks industry over the coming two years.
New Zealand-based motorhome rentals operator Tourism Holdings (THL) is recommending shareholders reject a partial takeover offer from Kiwi limited partnership Ballylinch.
According to Stuff.co.com, Wellington, THL said in a target company statement released to the NZX that the offer price to acquire 40.85% of shares Ballylinch does not already own is materially below the fair value range determined by an independent adviser’s report.
The report’s author, Simmons Corporate Finance, said there is no compelling reason to accept the offer and the offer price is below the current market price.
The offer, if successful, would give Ballylinch a controlling ownership of between 50.01% and 52.20% of ordinary shares. It currently holds 19.14% of THL shares.
THL said the offer comes at a time when its performance has been affected by the global financial crisis, the persistently high New Zealand and Australia currencies and a series of natural disasters in both countries which have affected global tourism flows.
The group also said that while John Grace, sole director of the limited partnership’s general partner Ballylinch General (BGL), was a long-standing and supportive shareholder of THL, the board is ”unaware of any further specialist experience or expertise” that Ballylinch LP brings to the company.
THL has a number of leading brands including Maui, Britz, Kiwi Experience and the Waitomo Glowworm Caves.
Ballylinch is wholly owned by Scanhard Trustee Company ()STCL) which is controlled by two Hastings’ lawyers.