Caravan sales boom in Gympie region
FREE-wheeling holiday-makers are driving up caravan and campervan sales in Gympie and putting more money in our pockets.
Registrations of these vehicles increased 6.6% across the region last year.
The rise was 1.3% above the national average of 5.3%.
The city is home to 2623 mobile holiday homes - an increase of 163 on 2013's figures.
Caravan Industry Association of Australia chief executive officer Stuart Lamont said regional and rural areas were the biggest winners.
"We are in a boom at present - and this flows through suppliers, manufacturers, retailers and caravan parks," Mr Lamont said.
"But what is most important is that 90% of all activity is in regional Australia.
"About $17.44 billion is the estimated size of contribution to the Australian economy by caravanning and camping and many regional centres receive welcome money from the expenditure conducted by caravanners and campers as they explore the country."
Travel writer Cindy Gough said caravanning holidays were cheap and cheerful.
"You can go wherever you want to," the co-author of The Grey Nomad's Guidebook and website said.
"You can get into the outback, you can get into some of those far away places and camp and you can get in tune with nature.
"They're often cheaper than hotels and resorts, and caravans and campervan holidays give you that sense of camaraderie with other people who are doing it."
Australia is home to 556,844 registered caravans and campervans and it is the country's fastest-growing vehicle type.
According to Tourism Research Australia, caravanning and camping had the nation's largest accommodation-type growth last year.
It grew 7% to almost 45 million nights in 2014, while the drive market also rose 7% to 58 million trips.