Caravanning News is registered with the National Library of Australia's PANDORA archive

October 2016


Mr Abitbol: hard decision

Revenue fails to cover costs

David's dream ends as HomeCamp closes

By Dennis Amor
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A FRENCH national's dream of turning hundreds of Aussie backyards into impromptu camping sites has collapsed.

David Abitbol has decided to close his HomeCamp scheme in which hosts allowed travellers to park their caravan or pitch their tent in their driveway or garden in exchange for cash.

He told Caravanning News shortly after launching the initiative last year that it was "a new platform" in Australia which would enable travellers to book a space at someone’s home in a city or out in the country.

Similar schemes were already operating successfully in seven countries, he said.

But having tested the concept in Australia for 16 months, he has now taken "the hard decision" to shut down the business "as our revenue doesn't cover our costs".

"Council regulations discourage lots of potential hosts to list their place," he explained. "Not to mention that investors hate businesses that are not fully compliant with the law."

Mr Abitbol, who founded HomeCamp after touring Australia for a year in a campervan, had also run into problems with insurance and other budget campsites offering more facilities for a cheaper price.

"It has become difficult to bring a significant revenue to our hosts as well as for HomeCamp to be profitable," he explained.

"A 20 percent fee of a tiny transaction is not enough money to pay for HomeCamp operations such as the website, wages, office space and so on."

He said that for the past four months he had been desperately trying to find solutions to keep his business alive.

"We have now run out of time and money to keep operating the business as usual," he said

HomeCamp had been launched "out of passion" for on-demand travel technology, great camping experiences and even greater services.

"We launched HomeCamp out of a genuine belief that we could make your camping journey better," he said.

Mr Abitbol thanked all its hosts, campers, interns and other partners who had worked to make the adventure possible.

The Local Government Association in South Australia told Caravanning News after the businesses was launched that it could flout local laws and raise public liability issues.

And Yorke Peninsula Council told us: "The allowing of campers/caravans to stay on a property in exchange for cash would constitute a change of land use."

Meanwhile, Bundaberg Regional Council in Queensland warned that property owners could be fined if they allowed camping without council approval.


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Copyright 2005 Dennis Amor
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