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Manufacturer expresses excitement
Production lines back
CARAVAN production lines in Victoria are back in action after a forced eight-week shutdown because of the coronavirus pandemic. Manufacturers took to social media to announce the good news. Caravan manufacturing factories fell silent despite pleas to the state government from the Caravanning Industry Association of Australia to allow limited production. Regarded as the main hub for manufacturing recreational vehicles for the Australian market, Victoria supplies 90 percent of the nation's RVs. Regent Caravans expressed its excitement on Facebook, reporting that its manufacturing, service and repair facility in Somerton was operational again. "Our number one priority on our return is fulfilling all outstanding customer orders so that you may hit the road and start exploring your next destination," chief executive Andrew Crank said. "We will be providing our dealers with a production update on all orders during the course of this week." Meanwhile, New Age Caravans wrote: "Our production facilities have restarted. All the hard work our dedicated team has done over the past months means we're reopening in a safe and efficient way." Have your say
'A year like no other'
Apollo ready to ramp up RV production as COVID restrictions bring more domestic travellers
By Dennis Amor
THE last financial year has been "a year like no other", according to global Brisbane-based Apollo Tourism and Leisure. Bushfires and the impact of the COVID-19 with its crippling associated government restrictions had been "challenging", the RV renter and manufacturer of Windsor and Coromal caravans says in its newly-released annual report. But with limited options for consumer-related travel and many people finding themselves with more spare time than previously, an RV was "becoming an increasingly attractive option", the company said. "Australian retail sales have been increasing since full lockdown restrictions began to be lifted and it appears that the trend is continuing," it added. Apollo was now in a position to capitalise on increased demand through its ability to ramp up factory production. "COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the primary source of travellers in all our markets," the report said, adding: "Apollo has a significant opportunity to convert more domestic holidaymakers to RV travel." The report revealed that total revenue for the financial year ending June 30 was $366.7 million, with a statutory after-tax net loss of $61.2m. Underlying after-tax net loss was $7.7m. Have your say
'COVID brakes' being released
BRIGHT FUTURE AHEAD, PREDICTS PEAK BODY
the deadly COVID virus putting the brakes on caravanning and camping this
year there is still a bright future ahead, according to the industry's
Higher economic benefits
SA's Renmark Paringa Council has reviewed its by-laws to offer a broader range of RV and camping facilities for budget-concious travellers. The changes reflect an increased demand for low-cost overnight stays and will mean some land previously set aside for tent camping at Plush's Bend (pictured) has been reallocated to encourage caravans, motorhomes and camper trailers at the site. Price Park will see designated and numbered sites established. SS Ellen Park will welcome camper trailers as well as recreational vehicles in designated and numbered sites. Both Plush's Bend and SS Ellen Park will allow recreational vehicles and camper trailers to stay for up to seven nights. New signage will be installed at each location, with the details in relation to the online bookings. "The changes reflect an increased demand for low-cost recreational vehicle and camping options in our district, resulting in an anticipated higher economic benefit derived from this segment of the tourism market," Mayor Neil Martinson said. Have your say
Two men face charges
Cops seize firearms and drugs in raid on NSW caravan park
TWO men have been charged
following a police operation at a caravan park on NSW's South Coast.
'Meant to buy ticket in another draw'
'Mistake' lands grey nomads with fortune during travels
By Dennis Amor
UPDATE: A South Australian caravanner from Port Lincoln won $100,000 in yesterday's Lucky Lotteries Super Jackpot draw 10411. The elated woman, who initially thought the call from a lottery official was a hoax, said she planned to use her windfall to upgrade her caravan and travel around Australia.
A NSW couple has joined the growing list of grey nomads who have scooped their fortunes on the lotto.
'Impacts of caravan accidents are devastating'
Caravan industry turns the spotlight on road safety with new initiative
AUSTRALIA'S peak body for the caravan and camping industry has launched a new initiative which turns the spotlight on road safety. It comes as RV manufacturers enjoy a sudden boom in orders from would-be travellers planning to hit the road after being forced to abandon overseas holidays in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. They will join over 740,000 camper trailers, caravans and motorhomes already registered in Australia today.
'Criminals continue to work'
urge caravanners to keep
POLICE on Queensland's Sunshine Coast have urged caravanners to keep their property safe and secure during the upcoming school holidays. "Remember that although you may be holidaying, criminals continue to work," they warned. Popular items stolen are cash, liquor, jewellery, mobile phones, cameras, fishing gear, portable BBQs, fridges and electrical equipment. Security measures include locking doors and windows, keeping valuables out of sight and asking people in the next caravan to keep an eye on your 'van. "Report any suspicious people or behaviour to the park management or to police and use locking devices on tow bars," a police spokesperson said. Have your say
New rules ban camping
Hwy rest areas not a source of cheap accommodation: Minister
TOUGH new laws aimed at stopping travellers using dedicated heavy vehicle rest areas in Queensland are now in force. The changes follow continuing complaints from truckies about being squeezed out of some rest areas by inconsiderate caravanners using them as a cheap way to travel. Offenders risk being slapped with $266 fines. Queensland Transport Minister Mark Bailey explained that the roadside facilities were not a source of accommodation, with long-term camping prohibited on the state-controlled road network. "Changes to rest area and illegal camping laws will help solve the problem," he said. "The amendments clarify the rules for rest area use and camping. They provide a stronger, simpler enforcement mechanisms for the Department of Transport and Main Roads." Click here for rest area legislation.
Making sure you reach your destination
New initiative from RAC as more travellers hit WA's regional roads
WA's Royal Automobile Club has launched a Safe Travels initiative as more and more travellers than ever before take to its regional roads. And, corporate affairs general manager Will Golsby told Caravanning News, many were likely to be travelling on unfamiliar roads, for longer distances and towing a caravan for the first time. "With such a big increase in regional visitors, we want to make sure everyone gets to and from their destinations safely ... that's why we launched the initiative, which offers free vehicle safety checks and free caravan safety lessons to ensure more Western Australians are exploring our great state safely." For more information, click here.
Family's GoFundMe plea after rig rolls
A CARAVANNING family of five from Albany in WA has appealed for financial help after their rig rolled on Father's Day. Craig Smith, partner Anita Waru-Bridge and their three children escaped serious injuries in the frightening accident in stormy conditions near Augusta after attending a funeral. Their car and caravan were wrecked and the family says it will have no income for rent, groceries and "everything else" for several weeks. Anita has now set up a GoFundMe appeal to help them out of their predicament. "I never ask for help usually, but I don't have a choice," she said. "Our car is totalled, caravan is totalled and we have no money to get back to Albany let alone getting the car towed back there." The appeal has so far raised more than $2000 towards its $5000 target. Have your say
More than 50 factories remain silent
Lockdown extended for nation's biggest RV manufacturing hub
By Dennis Amor
VICTORIA'S caravan manufacturing hub, which produces 90 percent of Australia's RVs, must remain closed for two extra weeks. The news comes after State Premier Daniel Andrews announced the extension to the September 13 COVID stage 4 restrictions. More than 50 RV factories fell silent a month ago after lockdown restrictions were introduced in the face of the worsening pandemic. Caravan Industry Association of Australia chief executive Stuart Lamont told Caravanning News today that the new roadmap meant the Victorian caravan trade industry, incorporating manufacturing, service and repair plus dealer and retail, will remain closed until September 28 at the earliest. He described it as a "disappointing result for our industry".
Towing far more complex than hitching up
Council blueprint helps keep caravanning families safe
NSW's Narrandera Shire Council has issued its own blueprint to help keep caravanning families safe during the school holidays. The council has expressed concern over the rising number of caravan accidents, with statistics revealing that between 2014 and 2018 there were 239 crashes in the state involving vehicles towing RVs. They resulted in 12 fatalities and 120 serious injuries. "Towing a caravan is far more complex than simply hitching one to your vehicle, as it adds significant weight to your vehicle," the council said.
'Disturbing number of problems'
Caravan Council warns of misleading plates on RVs
CARAVAN Council of Australia founder Colin Young has fired a broadside at RV manufacturers over alleged misleading information on compliance plates. The professional engineer claims that up to 90 percent of plates fitted to caravans and camper trailers give false or incomplete information, particularly when it comes to ratings and masses. "The main and most serious problem is that many, for one reason or another, often contain grossly incorrect information which has significantly contributed to a disturbing number of problems, complaints and litigation issues," he said. Misleading tare mass and empty ball-loading figures were the most common issues. Mr Young said plates were fitted by manufacturers to provide an assurance to vehicle registration authorities and the buyer that the vehicle was fully-compliant with all prescribed legislation so it could safely be used on Australian roads. "Sadly, for far too many caravans, this is clearly not the case," he added.
Huge demand for RVs
bookings soar as families
INNOVATIVE peer-to-peer caravan hire and RV company Camplify reports a 125 percent increase in winter camping holidays compared to last year. In a new research report it labels 2020 as "the year of the local road trip". Founder and chief executive Justin Hales (pictured) said there had been a huge demand for hire RVs as families looked for socially distanced holiday options, particularly within their home states. "With overseas travel now on-hold for the foreseeable future, making camping accessible to Australians had never been more important," he said.
Meeting tourism's needs
New campgrounds will help WA's nature-based tourism to blossom
TWO new campgrounds have opened in the heart of wildflower country along WA's Turquoise Coast. Managed by the Parks and Wildlife Service at the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, the new facilities will help meet the growing demand for nature-based tourism in the region. Karda Campground is located 20km east of Jurien Bay adjacent to Lesueur National Park and includes 31 campsites suitable for all types of camping accommodation, including caravans. Wanagarren Campground is situated alongside the pristine waters of Jurien Bay Marine Park between Wedge and Grey reserves.
An exhibition to remember
Plans for Victoria's virtual version of caravan show well underway
PREPARATIONS are well underway for Victoria's official Industry Virtual Caravan and Camping Show at the end of this month. Caravan Industry Victoria launched the new innovative show after restrictions and changes implemented by the state government. The show will be held between September 30 and October 4. Caravan Industry Victoria plans to make the virtual version one to remember. Chief executive Rob Lucas said the current situation with coronavirus, restrictions and lockdowns had been challenging not only for business but also for consumers. "Many are trying to support their favourite business by exploring their options," he said. "The Victorian Caravan and Camping Virtual show will provide visitors with opportunities to view and purchase a wide range of products from caravans, motorhomes, camper trailers camping accessories and travel destinations." For more information, go to https://victoriancaravanandcampingvirtualshow.com.au/
Pleasant surprise for guests
Discounted fees as work continues
GUESTS in self-contained RVs arriving at the council-owned Scarness Caravan Park on Queensland's Fraser Coast this month will be in for a pleasant surprise. The park is being reopened, with guests offered discounted fees as part of Fraser Coast Regional Council's plan to progressively upgrade the site over the next 18 months. "The caravan park was partially closed due to COVID-19 restrictions in late March and then completely closed in June after testing identified the need to replace underground electrical cabling throughout the entire site," Councillor David Lee explained.
'A key strategic fit'
RV Solutions shows
FLEETWOOD'S RV Solutions has showed "resilience" to the COVID crisis, according to the Perth-based company. Releasing its results for the 2020 financial year, Fleetwood said the sector, which comprises RV accessories company Camec and Melbourne-based caravan repairs and services company Northern RV, had stood the pandemic "relatively well". It reported that Northern RV continued to be a key strategic fit by broadening its market reach into recreational vehicle repairs, upgrades, rentals and import certifications. It would benefit as imports grew. RV Solutions' revenue for the financial year ending June 30, 2020, was $64.5m compared to $72.6m for the previous year. EBITA fell from $5.7m in FY19 to $3.7m in FY20. Have your say
Navigating through period of uncertainty
Apollo secures $25 million in loans to help it battle coronavirus crisis
THE manufacturer of Coromal and Windsor caravans has landed $25 million in financial assistance as Australia continues to battle the coronavirus crisis. Brisbane-based multinational Apollo Tourism and Leisure has secured a two-year $15 million loan from the Federal Government's COVID-19 Export Capital Facility, which is designed to help previously profitable Australian exporters whose businesses have been impacted by the epidemic. It will also receive a $10 million loan for the same period from Queensland Government's Industry Support Package. Managing director and chief executive Luke Trouchet said the money would help his company navigate through a period of uncertainty.