‘Covid effect’ sparks surge in national park camping

Published: August 14, 2021
Grey nomad camping in national parks

If the booked-out caravan parks and packed-out campsites weren’t evidence enough, there’s a sea of statistics that confirm what grey nomads already know … there’s more people than ever out there exploring their own backyard!

The huge impact of the ‘Covid effect’ is plain to see in the surging number of visitors to our national parks.

In Queensland, for example, the Courier-Mail reports that the year has seen a whopping 720,000 people camping with permits … a huge increase on previous years.

There were a total of 1.6 million camper nights in the state’s parks and forests in 2020-21, compared to previous annual averages of around 1.3 million.

The huge demand saw revenue raised for camping increase by almost $3 million from was $6.8 million in 2019-2020 to $9.9 million in the last financial year.

Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon told the Courier-Mail that the extra funds raised from camping would be invested back into maintaining and improving national parks.

“A UQ report revealed that visits to our national parks generate $2.6 billion in spending each year, with tourists who visited a region to go to a national park helping to support 17,240 jobs,” she said. “And so more visitors is only a good sign for our economy and for the promotion of the importance of our protected areas.”

Outdoors Queensland executive officer, Dom Courtney, told the Courier-Mail that it was great to see more people getting out into the great outdoors, and enjoying the associated physical, mental and social benefits.

And he said there were plenty of opportunities to do so outside of national parks and state forests, such as camping on farms and using private campsites instead.

“There are often really good alternative opportunities outside of national parks,” he said. “It might cost more but you might get access to better facilities and the local knowledge from business owners can be invaluable.”

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