January 2018


Grant Wilckens

Mr Wilckens: unification

New chairman talks of threats

'Unification' needed to drive growth in caravan, camping industry, says new chairman

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THE new chairman of the caravanning and camping industy's peak body has emphasised the need for unification to drive industry growth.

The message came from Discovery Parks chief executive and co-founder Grant Wilckens after he was elected leader of the Caravan Industry Association of Australia.

With a large financial investment in the industry spread nationally across almost all state and territories, Mr Wilckens said he recognised the need for the industry to come together for future success to occur.

"There are many threats to the way we have conducted business in the past with the sharing economy presenting both challenges and opportunities for the industry," he said.

"Add to this technological and demographic change and the business models we once knew are continually being tested.

"It is more important than ever that we have strong representative associations leading the industry through this period of change."

The caravanning and camping industry continues to grow strongly despite competitive threats.

Around 7.1 million Australians stayed in a caravan holiday park, camping ground or national park in the past two years.

Latest registration figures show continued strength in the market with total numbers of products now registered topping 650,000.

Meanwhile, the industry contributes around $19 billion to the Australian economy annually.

Mr Wilckens, is a long supporter of the sector, commented: "I love this industry.

"It provides great diversity for consumers and is a real powerhouse for the Australian economy supporting regional employment, local manufacturing and retailing, as well as regional dispersal vital for many local communities around Australia.

"Irrespective of whether you are a large corporate business, a small retailer in the suburbs, or an independent caravan park in the country, every industry business benefits from a strong industry committed to growth."

Mr Wilckens said it was a "real honour" to be able to serve on the national board and he looked forward to leading the industry to bigger and better things.

He believed there were further ways for the industry to embrace change:

* Continued unification of the manufacturing and accommodation sectors for a future of shared growth.
* Further bringing together the states and national peak body for the betterment of the industry.
* Ensuring the industry has a national voice for the future at the highest level of government.
* Improving customer service and operational standards through training and accreditation programs.

Mr Wilckens recognised outgoing chairman Mark Lindsay as a champion for change and a strong leader.

"Mark has been an industry stalwart and the right man for the job in leading both the accommodation and manufacturing sectors and the peak national body through a period of much change," he said.

"He has been generous with his time and tireless in his support.

"He is a big believer in bringing the industry together, irrespective of sector.

"I look forward to honouring his legacy in looking at activities which grow the market, improve standards, and provide for future sustainability so all industry businesses wishing to better themselves can benefit."

Mr Lindsay remains on the board as a non-executive director.

Dennis Austin has been elected deputy chair and Martin Cotterell treasurer.


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Copyright 2005 Dennis Amor
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