2020 insights into Australia’s caravan park and camping industry
Australia’s caravan and camping industry is resilient in times of crisis. Strong demand prevails post major crises throughout Australia’s history, including Cyclone Tracy, the Global Financial Crisis and the September 11 attacks as Australians retreat to the safety, familiarity and comfort of a caravan and camping holiday.
Peter Clay, the general manager of insights and advocacy for the Caravan Industry Association of Australia provided some interesting data insights and year-on-year comparisons to show the industry's ongoing strength from 2019 through to the unpredictable year of 2020.
"Australia’s kinship with caravan and camping has a long history with the modern domestic visitor economy built on the back of road trips and caravan holidays in the 1980s and 1990s," says Peter. "This continues today with caravan and camping holidays the most popular choice of holidays for Australians in 2019. It is also the ‘driver’ of the existing but early greenshoots around some areas of Australia’s visitor economy."
According to Peter's insights, 62% of caravan and campers have said that COVID-19 has made them more likely to take a domestic holiday than before, with 50% likely to travel more regionally than before.
Cabin occupancy in August 2020 was sitting at 40.1% across the country, only 3% less than August 2019 [iii]. "This is a tremendous example of the resilience of the sector," says Peter.
There is a demand for RVs with families and young midlife couples being the biggest market. (As of the end of September 2020), grey nomads are hindered with border restrictions, however many are now in Queensland for the season.
In the 2020 State of the Industry Report:
- 58.7 million nights spent caravan and camping around Australia in 2019, up 11% from 2018 making it a record year [i].
- 13.9 million domestic visitors went caravan and camping in 2019, up 9.9% from 2018 - another record [ii].
"This is the highest recorded figures to date, just prior to COVID," says Peter. "On any measure, caravan and camping holidays are the most popular and largest domestic tourism sector within Australia – likely to only grow in importance and scale in the COVID economy."
[i] Tourism Research Australia. (2020). National Visitor Survey.
[iii] BDO (2020) Monthly Caravan and Camping Accommodation Data.