The president of the Recreational Vehicle Manufacturers Association of Australia, Richard Raven, said the number of recreational vehicles built in Australia is expected to reach 24,000 in 2010, at least 5,000 more than any other year, the Brisbane Times reported. About 10% of these are motorized, with the rest made up of caravans and camper-trailers, Raven said.
A director of the Sydney RV Center, Jeremy Pearce, said the high demand is partly a result of buyers who delayed their purchase during the global financial crisis. ”In the last two months we’ve had a huge increase in the number of buyers and inquiries – sales are up 100% on the same month last year,” he said.
There is a waiting period of nearly six months for some popular motorhome models and Pearce expects demand to remain high as more Baby Boomers retire.
A spokesman for the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia, Gary Rebgetz, questioned whether local councils are ready to cash in on the boom. A report prepared by Balfour Consulting for the club found that some tourists actively avoid towns that do not supply suitable rest areas.
More than one in four motorhome tourists surveyed in Queensland had experienced trouble getting into rest areas and caravan parks because of over-crowding and lack of availability, according to the report.
The general manager of Albury City Council, Les Tomich, said many councils were not prepared for the expected surge in the number of motorhome tourists, and needed to install more basic sites where motorhome owners could dump waste and use power and water.
However, the chief executive of the Caravan, RV and Accommodation Industry of Australia, Ben Yates, warned that new rest areas would represent unfair competition if they did not comply with all of the regulations that apply to caravan parks.
- An estimated 330,000 recreational vehicles are registered.
- About 70,000 are on the road at any one time. About 10% are motorized.
- Motorhome tourists holiday for more than six months on average and spend more than $500 per week.
- Annual sales of recreational vehicles rose from about 5,000 in the mid 1990s to about 19,000 in 2007. In 2010 sales are expected to top 24,000.
- Australia has about 2,500 caravan parks, with more than 200,000 sites.
Meanwhile, in a somewhat related development, Paul Davy, managing director of EnergyTech PTY Ltd., an import firm that sells products in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific, told RVBUSINESS.com that his firm has been importing some product made by U.S. manufacturer Forest River Inc.
“FR has custom built these for us with the floorplan flipped over as we drive on the left here so entry door needs to be on the left side and everything else swapped around as all the Aussie campsites are setup ‘back to front,'” he said.
“Many changes were necessary to meet Australian design rules but the Forest River team really worked hard to come up with a suitable product for the Australasian Market,” he said.
A recent issue of Australian Caravan World magazine featured a review of Forest River’s Wolf Pup, one of the units modified for sale in Australia. To read the article titled “Less is More” about how Forest River accommodated the Australian RV market, click here.