The Impact of Caravanning on the Australian Economy

Author: Tahlia Maynard   Date Posted:1 October 2016 

Caravan Camping Industry

Caravan industry experts had previously predicted that 2016 would be a successful year in regards to the sale of caravans and caravan accessories. Australia’s dollar is unfortunately not in the best state and, as a result, many Australian families are now seeking cheaper vacation alternatives.

Data collected by the ABS Motor Vehicle Census have shown that Australia’s caravan industry has seen a steady 5% annual increase in motorhome, caravan, and RV registrations for the past 6 years, with a total increase of 34% since 2008. Even Gerry Ryan, chairman of Jayco, has expressed his pleasure with the current state of the industry by declaring that, “This is the best I have seen the market in 40 years.”

According to the 2015 Caravan and Camping State of the Industry Report, Australia is currently home to more than 586,000 registered RVs, with the large majority (in excess of 528,00) being caravans.

Caravan Camping Demographic

It seems that the popularisation of the Australian caravan industry is largely due to its expanding consumer demographic. Caravanning is no longer considered an activity of retired seniors or “grey nomads”. In fact, the majority of Australian domestic trips have been taken by individuals falling within the 20 to 54-year-old age bracket. 

Young families searching for a personalized and alternative lifestyle are also turning to caravan camping. A representative for Sunland’s Wyss has described them as “Home-schooled,” explaining, “They are looking for a family van where they can take the kids with them and travel around Australia. Work-wise, they might do a variety of different things as they are travelling around the country.”

Effect on Local Economies

Although caravan camping is providing Australians with a budget-friendly vacation alternative, the caravan industry has also had a positive effect on Australia’s local economies.

Australian caravan parks are often cited as being valuable to local economies for much more than financial contributions. Most parks offer a large array of services, including easily accessible tourist information. As a result of this tourist education, it has been said that $138 of direct financial benefits are received by the community for each $100 earned by a local caravan park.

Moreover, even international tourists seem to be enamored with Australia’s caravanning industry.

When compared to other types of campers, caravanning tourists are more likely to spend double the amount of time in Australia than non-caravanning campers. While non-caravan campers, on average, spend 33 nights in Australia, caravan campers typically spend an average of 77.

Not only do international caravan campers spend more time in Australia, they’re also spending more money. According to numbers collected during the 2011 camping year, international caravan campers spent approximately $7,507 per trip. This is compared to the $4,776 average spent by non-caravanning tourists.

Lastly, in regards to the economy, a KPMG Report has cited the caravan and camping industry as one of the most lucrative markets for the family demographic, as well as the one most likely to continue seeing rapid growth in the future. 

It should also be noted that Australia’s caravan and camping sector currently employs more than 25,000 direct employees.