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Strong trading performance expected
Aspen Group revenue soars despite 'challenging' operating environment
By Dennis Amor
ASPEN Group, which operates a chain of holiday and lifestyle parks throughout Australia, has revealed a 27 percent rise in total revenue for the first quarter compared to last year. In an update presentation to shareholders, it said the unaudited figure of $11.77 million was "reasonable in a challenging operating environment". Aspen's NSW coastal parks ‒ especially Adelaide Caravan Park and Tween Waters at Merimbula near the NSW-Victoria border ‒ had been impacted the most, with a large proportion of the net operating decline versus previous corresponding period being attributed to the end of JobKeeper. Aspen was expecting a strong trading performance at its NSW coastal parks during the peak summer trading periods ... provided people were free to travel. Meanwhile, Aspen chairman Clive Appleton (pictured) said in the group's annual report that revenue from short-stay guests at its holiday parks had been negatively impacted by travel restrictions. "However, profits have generally held up due to our strategy to pivot between short-stay and longer-stay leasing depending on the season and lockdown status," he said.
'He thought he was going to die'
Caravanner's ten minutes of terror in chainsaw attack
By Dennis Amor
A COURT has heard how a 71-year-old man was subjected to ten minutes of terror at the hands of a chainsaw-wielding attacker in a Queensland caravan park.
Bundaberg District Court was told the man thought he was going to die after being knocked from his chair as he relaxed in his caravan annex on a bush site at Baffle Creek Caravan Park north of the city.
Crown Prosecutor Carla Ahern described how defendant Gregg Haywood picked up a nearby chainsaw and started it before holding it just inches away from the victim's arm and head as it revved.
"He felt he was going to die," she told Judge John Allen.
She said there were threats to break the terrified man's arms before he was punched in the face, causing bruising, swollen lips and bleeding from the nose and mouth.
Judge Allen said the victim had suffered "ten minutes of terror".
The motive for the attack was unclear and appeared to be senseless violence entirely unprovoked against an elderly and vulnerable victim, he added.
Haywood ̶ said to have an extensive criminal record ̶ was jailed for four and a half years but will be eligible for parole on March 10 next year because of time already served in custody. Have your say
'Vital we do everything we can'
New dollar-for-dollar grants scheme eases online bookings at NT parks
PLANNING a road trip in the Northern Territory is about to get easier with accommodation providers, including caravan parks, now eligible to apply for funding to implement online booking platforms. Parks can apply for grants of up to $2500 with a dollar for dollar contribution required. The Accommodation Book Now grant program has a funding pool of $75,000 and closes on December 1. Minister for Tourism and Hospitality Minister Natasha Fyles, pictured above, commented: "The drive market makes up approximately 40 percent of all visitors to the Territory, which means it's vital we do everything we can to make the experience as convenient as possible for guests. It's vital for accommodation businesses to be instantly bookable so they can meet customer expectations and maximise sales." Have your say
Time to move forward, say owners
Brisbane caravan park property under auctioneer's hammer
ONE of Queensland's most iconic and oldest tourist parks, which has pulled down the shutters, is auctioning cabins, caravans, a golf cart, ride-on mower and other items. The property from Brisbane's Newmarket Gardens Caravan Park is being sold online through Lloyds Auctions. The park, just a stone's throw from the city centre, had offered more than 100 tourist sites for over 60 years. But owners Derek and Robyn Wright believed it was time they moved forward to the next chapter in their lives and potentially for the caravan park land to move forward as well.
Sixty percent on or over limit
Jeff helps solve the weighty problem of caravan safety
JEFF DeAth works hard to take the weight off the minds of many caravanners. His Newcastle-based mobile caravan weighing business CHECK WEIGHT has put more than 370 caravans and tow vehicle combinations on the scales since launching in NSW two years ago. And Mr DeAth has revealed that about 60 percent exceeded or were on the weight limit. He told Caravanning News that half the problems could have been "fairly easily" resolved by removing excess items or moving weight to or from the tow vehicle or caravan.
RETREAT RALLY CANCELLED AGAIN
THE fourth national
Retreat Caravans Owners and Family Group rally planned for Barmera in
South Australia this month has been called off. "Unfortunately,
we had to cancel the event for the third time due to COVID-19 and border
closures," organisers Lyn and Phil Deaves told Caravanning News.
"We would like to thank everyone who has paid
their deposits for their patience and understanding but the safety of all
attendees is of the upmost importance." Previous rallies have raised more
than $46,000 for the Cancer Council. "Every dollar that can be raised by
the group as a whole helps someone or a family that needs all the help
they can get during this period in their lives," Lyn and Phil said. "There
are many members of the Retreat Caravans Family Group and Retreat Caravan
Owners Club who have gone through this battle, with some unfortunately
losing the battle." The rally has been rebooked for the first week in
March next year. "Hopefully the event will be a bigger success than
previous years in this ever changing world in which
we now all live," the couple added. The rally was scheduled be held
at the Riverlands Event Centre from October 16 to October 25.
Nominations now open
Time to elect to CIAA board
NOMINATIONS are now open for people wanting to provide strategic direction for the nation's caravan industry. Each year, in accordance with its constitution, the Caravan Industry Association of Australia offers the opportunity for interested persons to join the board through an election process, voted for by member state caravanning associations. The CCIA has a board of nine and has a rotation requirement whereby approximately 50 percent members are subject to re-election on an annual basis.
'Very special part of the country'
G'Day Group buys up big in NT
THE G'Day Group, owners of iconic Northern Territory's Kings Canyon Resort and Glen Helen, has acquired the MacDonnell Range Holiday Park in Alice Springs and Shady Lane Tourist Park in Katherine, significantly increasing their Territory tourism holding. The group is the largest regional tourism accommodation provider in Australia, with more than 300 properties located in all states and territories. "For years we have been trying to grow our offering in the NT," chief executive Grant Wilckens said, adding that he was thrilled to have such "fantastic Territory properties" joining the group. "It is home to some of the best caravanning and camping country in Australia, and some of the best outdoor experiences to be found in the world. It's a very special part of the country."
'Generating strong demand'
Apollo well positioned to capitalise on tourism's recovery: CEO
APOLLO Tourism and Leisure, manufacturers of Winnebago motorhomes and Coromal and Windsor caravans, has reported an after-tax net financial year loss of $17.9 million compared to $61.2 million the previous year. In its newly released annual report, chief executive and managing director Luke Trouchet predicts a "light at the end of the tunnel" as COVID-related restrictions begin to ease. "I believe Apollo is well positioned to capitalise on the recovery in tourism activity," he said. The report believes that with record RV sales demand, a growing forward rental book and a lower permanent cost base, Apollo is well placed to benefit from the reopening of domestic and international borders and return to profitability. The company's revenue plunged 20 percent to $283.3 million during the year, mostly thanks to border closures. However, the company says that in periods where domestic borders were open it was able to generate strong demand, with domestic revenues "significantly exceeding pre-COVID-19 levels".
'Driven by innovation and change'
Camplify weathers COVID
By Dennis Amor
CARAVAN and campervan sharing platform Camplify has reported strong financial results despite the pandemic. "As a business with a culture driven by innovation and change, Camplify has weathered the COVID storm well," chief executive and founder Justin Hales (pictured) writes in the company's annual report. The NSW-based company also has operations in Britain, Spain and New Zealand, but Australia remains its key market. The report shows that results for the 2020-2021 financial year saw a total gross transaction value of $29.6 million.
'Why wouldn't we?'
Apple Isle holiday park dishes out nearly 1000 free nights
THE Apple Isle's family-owned and operated BIG4 St Helens Holiday Park will be handing out nearly a thousand free nights next month. The Robinson family will open the doors of its award-winning park for fellow Tasmanians to spend 900 site nights and 58 accommodation nights. Peter Robinson said he was inspired by a campaign launched by harm-prevention charity RUOK? and wanted to contribute to the cause in some way. "This was the only thing I could think of and given accommodation is what we do, it seemed like a good fit," he explained. "Tasmanians deserve a break and we can help, so why wouldn't we?" The Robinsons have owned the BIG4 St Helens and BIG4 Ulverstone parks for seven years, playing an integral role in driving tourism to their relevant regions. Have your say
Get-together called off for second year
fears lead to cancellation
ORGANISERS have called off this month's planned Boroma Roamers' rally at Casino in NSW due to travel restrictions. "Sadly, COVID has affected many people in many ways and we are sorry that this is the second year that our rally has had to be cancelled," they said. It appeared the Queensland-New South Wales border restrictions would not be relaxed in the near future. "This means that any Roamers from Queensland who travel to NSW would not be able to return," they explained in a message to members. "Some caravan parks are now demanding proof of vaccination against COVID before allowing entry. This would put added pressure on your conveners to ask attendees to comply with this rule." The organisers suggested that NSW Roamers wanting to attend a rally at Casino or some other venue should make contact. Have your say
'Pressing need for education'
in tune with caravan safety
THERE is a pressing need for caravanners to be educated on their vehicles' ratings and masses, according to the Caravan Council of Australia. General manager and founder Colin Young has even composed catchy lyrics emphasising the necessity of staying safe. "It is quite obvious that the misunderstanding ‒ and the ignoring ‒ of caravan ratings and masses are a prime contributing factor in the number of serious problems on the road," he said. "Another prime contributing factor is the poor maintenance and preparation of many caravans, and sometimes their tow-vehicles, before commencing a trip."
'Pit stop for many caravanners'
Bruce Hwy's Apple Tree Creek rest area set for major facelift
FEBRUARY next year will see the start of a major facelift of the Apple Tree Creek rest area and park on Queensland's busy Bruce Highway. Bundaberg Regional Council Parks and Gardens spokesperson Wayne Honor said the park was not only popular with local residents but was also a pit-stop for many caravanners and other travellers passing through the region. It already offers a new disability amenities block and sewage disposal facilities. He said the upgrade would include many new features to improve the area for both locals and travellers alike to enjoy. "Having these works completed means visitors will be able to relax and enjoy some time in the fresh, open air before starting up their journey on the road again," he told media. Work on the upgrade is expected to be completed by April. Have your say
CEO welcomes 'flexibility'
Australia's peak caravanning body welcomes partnership
AUSTRALIA'S peak body for the nation's caravan industry has formed a partnership with DLL. The Caravan Industry Association of Australia said it welcomed the leading global vendor finance company to its National Industry Sponsor family. The association and DLL's Commercial Finance Business Unit would work together to bring awareness of DLL's floorplan financing solutions to RV and caravan manufacturers and dealers, it explained. Chief executive and managing director Luke Trouchet, pictured with DLL's Daniel Foster, said his company liked DLL's flexibility. "Rather than just helping us with some of our financing, the company has the ability to be that all-encompassing partner to us," he explained.