George's trial campsite
We have to give
them a reason to stop: Mayor
proves St George
is missing out on RV tourism
Have your say
A RECENT experiment in low-costing camping
at St George proved the Queensland town is missing out on the lucrative RV
Balonne Shire Mayor Richard Marsh said the trial revealed the majority of
caravan and motorhome travellers were bypassing the town,
population about 2500, because it did not offer the type of camping
they were looking for.
"The self-contained RVs are a market that do not usually stay in
traditional caravan parks as they don't need the amenities and want a
campsite that offers a more back-to-nature experience," he said.
"We’ve seen Julia Creek create an RV friendly free-camping site which
injects around half a million dollars into their local economy annually,
without impacting on their commercial caravan parks."
Cr Marsh said the council initially discussed trialling a low-cost RV
camping site on the outskirts of St George but local caravan park
operators had raised concerns that the competition could undermine their
In the spirit of partnership, the council then offered to run the trial
through the town's four commercial caravan parks using a voucher system
administered by the Visitor Information Centre.
Cr Marsh said travellers who specifically asked the centre's staff for
free camping were offered council-subsidised camping vouchers to be used
at the local caravan parks.
From July to November this year, 209 travellers requested free camping
with 151 accepting a low-cost camping voucher.
Only 59 of these were redeemed at the commercial caravan parks.
"This means 150 RV travellers, or 72 percent of enquires, were not
converted into customers and left St George," Cr Marsh said.
"Feedback from the 58 travellers who refused vouchers included reports
that there are now online reviews telling travellers not to stop in St
George because there isn't any free camping."
Cr Marsh said the trial showed that low-cost camping did not hurt the
commercial caravan parks because the self-contained RVs were a separate
He said figures released by the Campervan & Motorhome Club of Australia
last year showed there were 620,000 RVs in Australia spending around $770
a week in the towns they visited.
"RVs are a huge market and we have to give them a reason to stop, stay and
spend in our town," he added.
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