‘It’s been a slow process … but we’re getting there’

Published: October 16, 2021

With the ‘living-with-Covid’ travel landscape changing rapidly, Stuart Lamont, the Chief Executive Officer of the Caravan Industry Association of Australia, takes a look at what the road ahead might look like for grey nomads and all other caravanners and motorhomers.

Caravanning and camping is part of the Australian DNA, and despite many lockdown and border frustrations, the number of individual trips taken caravanning and camping to June 2021 was an all-time record.  This is as international borders remain shut and cruise travel is unavailable.

There remains much media speculation around the reopening of international borders and what international travel could look like for Australians going abroad. In contrast, the national conversation seems less concerned with how recreational travel will play out within our own borders – and it is of a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’.

With States and Territories dictating their own policies and roadmaps however, there is no current cohesive national directive and crossing into another State means being subject to different policies – not least of all: vaccination policy.

For example, now that NSW has hit 70% double vaccinations, the current (at time of writing) roadmap allows the reopening of caravan parks and camping grounds for all individuals regardless of vaccination status.  Even so, there remains restrictions on where unvaccinated NSW residents are able to physically travel, meaning their favourite caravanning or camping spot may still be out of reach.  

On the other hand, the Victorian Government has not specifically addressed the requirements of reopening or attending caravan parks and camping grounds. The current (at time of writing) VIC roadmap leaves heavy restrictions all-round on unvaccinated persons until the State aligns with the National Plan to transition to Australia’s National Covid-19 Response, agreed to by National Cabinet, when 80% of Victorians aged 12 and over are fully vaccinated (Indicative date: November 19,  2021).

Add all the other States and Territories into the mix, who are yet to show their hand, and it becomes a hot mess of confusion for both consumers and tourism operators alike.  

Throughout all of this, individual State caravanning associations have been excellent at deciphering the ever-changing Health Orders and distributing this information to their caravan park (and caravan dealership and repairer) members. 

While we are seeing some organisations now declaring their vaccination hand, this is mostly restricted to employees rather than guests. It will remain a commercial decision of individual operators subject to, at a minimum, following that which is allowed under any applicable State Health Order at the time.

As an industry, we have been calling on State leaders to provide clarity around travel once vaccination targets are met so that both industry and consumers can clearly determine what is available and required once targets are hit. We are already seeing the language move away from infection rates to vaccination levels; and with this we hope that interstate travel, so enjoyed by many caravanners and campers, can be reactivated and planned for with confidence. 

We know that popular travel times and destinations, in the near future, are already filling up in anticipation of what lies ahead. We also suspect with the large amount of RV product currently sitting idle, that once camping spots and borders reopen, there will be a mad rush as Australians once again hit the open road.

We strongly support as many Australians being vaccinated (if recommended by their healthcare practitioner) as possible to ensure that we return to ‘normal’ as quickly as possible.

That being said, vaccinated or not, if you are planning a caravanning and camping adventure the time to book is now.  Make sure you factor in flexibility and talk to your caravan park or camping location to verify their cancellation policy in the event you are unable to travel – most are now offering money back guarantees or future credits to give peace of mind to any consumers nervous about forward bookings. 

These sites will be armed with the latest information surrounding the current Health Orders, whether you are able to visit, and what facilities may be open to all guests or those fully vaccinated.

  • We now have a Grey Nomads Instagram page. Please click here to follow us.
  • You can also follow us on Twitter by clicking here

 

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SkaryKitty
3 months ago

This topic joins a long list of the lack of cohesion between states and territories in Australia that travellers encounter on a daily basis ie driver’s license, registration, insurance, ambulance membership and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Are we overgoverned? Of course we are.

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