J & D Caravans owners Duncan and Jayne Bennett. Photo Tanya Easterby
J & D Caravans owners Duncan and Jayne Bennett. Photo Tanya Easterby

Unexpected sales surge boosts Valley, Coast tourism

GYMPIE region residents are wasting no time getting back out on the road and caravan and RV sales have spiked in the last few weeks, a positive sign for the region’s tourism industry.

As restrictions on international travel are expected to stay until mid-next year, both new and experienced caravanners are taking the opportunity to explore Australia, and the flow-on effect will boost regional communities.

The Caravan Industry Association of Australia CEO Stuart Lamont said this was good news for local manufacturers, retail markets and the tourism sector as more people hit the road.

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According to the Caravan Industry’s data, interest in buying recreational vehicles has increased, as has attendance at caravan parks.

“Recent weeks have shown a shift in people’s behaviour – having been cooped up for months, Australians are now turning their attention to travelling within their own backyard,” Mr Lamont said.

Caravan sales and inquiries have been on the rise in Gympie, and businesses have reported customers keen to explore local campsites and the rest of the country.

Gympie Caravan and RV team member Rebecca Cobb said more young people and families were getting into caravanning and camping.

Chris and Anna Keddie recently decided to sell their Gympie home, buy a caravan and travel the country. Picture: Contributed
Chris and Anna Keddie recently decided to sell their Gympie home, buy a caravan and travel the country. Picture: Contributed

“It was happening prior [to restrictions] but there’s probably more of an influx now,” she said.

“People are withdrawing their super and being able to use that money to buy second-hand vans and it’s a good opportunity for them to get on the road.

“At the moment a lot of people are travelling locally.’

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One young Gympie family recently decided to pack up their lives and head off on adventure in their caravan, and are now a few weeks into the trip of a lifetime.

J & D Caravans owner Duncan Bennett said they had also experienced an increase in sales inquiries, and repairs from van owners ready to travel again.

“In the workshop and repairs and maintenance side we did have quite a busy month,” Mr Bennett said.

He said their main customers were people coming up on retirement, who wanted to travel long term around the country.

“They want to do the lap mainly, people just want to go and see the great outdoors.”