Will new caravanners head back to Bali when they can

Published: August 12, 2021
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The closure of international borders has proved an absolute boon for the caravanning and camping industry,

People who normally go overseas on cruises, or to Bali, or on that dream European odyssey are now discovering the joys of exploring their own back yard.

The question that many in the tourism business want to know … is will it last?

Once international travel is well and truly back on the table, will those first-timers currently buying caravans and tents abandon ship and head back to the airport … or is there a seismic shift in attitudes occurring?

Caravan park operators like Murray McLay from Yeppoon’s Beachside Holiday Park are optimistic that the current surge of camping enthusiasm will not be just a flash in the pan.

“Lockdown has seen a whole new generation taking their kids out of lockdown and embracing the camping life,” Mr McLay told the ABC. “In 10, 15, hopefully 30 years from now, we’ll see those children bring their kids back to holiday around here instead of flying off to Bali.”

His logic is hard to disagree with.

“I’m standing here in the sunshine looking out over the ocean, watching someone throw a ball to the dog walking on the beach,” he said. “Once you’ve been here, why would you ever want to leave?”

Julian Barry, chief executive of Caravan Industry Association Western Australia (CIAWA), said Covid had led to a change in the caravanner demographic with grey nomads now joined by more younger people.

“We have a lot of families and singles and couples doing it, they are getting whatever they can get and going out to explore,” Mr Barry said. “It’s enabled people to try something that they wouldn’t have done ordinarily.”

But will their enthusiasm last?

“Once they have bought that equipment, they are probably going to want to hang onto it,” said Mr Barry.

Mandurah businessman Grant Wiltshire agrees. He has been selling caravans for 30 years and says demand has gone ‘ballistic’ in recent months. And he is optimistic that the good times will keep on rolling, even when people can holiday overseas again.

“I think there may be 5% cent who say, ‘Let’s go back cruising’,” he said. “But I think we’ll find once they have got the taste for it, they will keep going.”

  • Do you think the enthusiasm for travelling Australia will continue once international borders re-open? Comment below.
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5 months ago

Overseas travel will be off limits for a good while
Too many people got caught out / stuck overseas and will be wary to travel international again
Globally a lot of people won’t travel again

5 months ago

Once overseas travel is allowed, you will see a flood of people in a hurry to get out like dogs let off a leash. Then, a flood of sales of hardly used caravans, motohomes and tent gear.

The question remains “Will the international borders really ever fully open and is it worth the risk?”.

5 months ago
Reply to  Greg

Spot on Greg, Once the international {2 jabs} borders open the people with the two jabs here will be off partying. And then the Caravan Park owners will be back complaining about lower cost camping.

5 months ago
Reply to  David

That’s what I’m hoping for … that caravan parks become affordable again

5 months ago
Reply to  Greg

Here’s hoping for a glut of near new caravans going cheap. I’m hoping for a cheap upgrade
Patiently waiting.

Chris Smith
5 months ago

You will be waiting a long time.

Shane Collins
5 months ago

International travel will be back eventually, annual vaccine booster will be the norm. A lot of people prefer overseas travel (I’m not one of them) so I think there will be a slacking off in domestic travel.

Rob Jones
5 months ago
Reply to  Shane Collins

I agree Shane, eventually International travel will be back with annual vaccinations and people who used to combine the 2, will again. We have been caravanners for over 30 years and overseas travellers as well. We both love cruising, our last being 46 days around the Indian Ocean in 2020

Tony Saunders
5 months ago
Reply to  Rob Jones

Hi Rob. Sounds like you were on the same cruise as us, on Sun Princess, where we were denied entry at Nosy Be and Mauritius ?

Peter Buttge
5 months ago

Old age and declining health waits for no one. Give it another 10/20 years when all the old farts die out there will be many 4x4s and vans for sale. The boom of Australian Travel (with border closures etc.) Will come to a screeching halt. By then the country will be wrecked by overuse anyway.

5 months ago

Freedom from the pandemic will mean a lot of VERY CHEAP vans out there in the short future but I cannot see a great drop off in non regular tourists in the short term. A lot will buy the cheapies. Once many of the non grey nomads leave the scene, caravan park prices might drop. Very greedy at the moment. We never stay in parks anymore because they are pricing to the more wealthy employed who are on the road now. They will decline but we will remember the prices now being charged so you should also see a lot of parks flood the for sale market.

G Holyday
5 months ago

We can’t go to Bali! so let’s spend $ 100,000.0 on a caravan and tow vehicle, seriously!

5 months ago

We have just returned from Broome. Bedlam in all caravan parks. Kunnunurra was worse. We had a great time but the gouging of prices for everything was disappointing. $65 minimum per night plus $6.00 per night for power. This was never the case prior to civid. Unfortunately the retail personell, were very angry as not enough staffing for the demand of tourists. We’ve just sold our caravan hoping to pick up a bargain post covid. I realise covid won’t go away but vaccination will surely open up those international borders, supplying us bargain hunters with a plethora of caravans to choose from.

John B
5 months ago
Reply to  Irene

We are the same. Just returned from up north WA, absolute bedlam, waaaayyyy more expensive than previous years, park fees extra for power, fuel costs through the roof, bins overflowing. And many people in a hurry and a panic to get the best spots which are hard to get. Arrived home, sold the van in two weeks and will not return to caravanning. That said we have done it for thirty years so we have had our turn and enjoyed it immensely so its over to the next generation, enjoy.

Len Sorrell
5 months ago
Reply to  Irene

Seems like Ned Kelly was not hanged he just moved to WA.

Gary Seen
5 months ago

I’ve just invested in a new motor home fully aware that when overseas travel is allowed ,the value off my motorhome will diminish
I’m ok with that because I’m set up overseas with a property and I’ll never sell my motorhome because great 6 months here 6 months there

Lavena Payne
5 months ago

The sooner the better international travel is opened again. Us regular caravanners can get back to normal on the roads and enjoy the way it used to be without the crowds and young families.

5 months ago

The new breed of caravanners out on the roads in my opinion won’t stomach it long term and will return to Bali and other overseas travel in a flash! Looking forward to that. As for caravan parks we don’t use them and help facilitate their greedy price gouging. Plenty of other cheaper and free options if you look around.


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