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DECEMBER 2019
     

 


St George trial budget camping site

St George's trial campsite

We have to give them a reason to stop: Mayor

Experiment 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 tourism market.

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 occupancy rates.

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 market segment.

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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