Will generation game see grey nomads lose out?

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As we prepare to enter 2015, the popularity of caravanning and camping in Australia is soaring to new heights … but it’s not the grey nomads who are leading the charge.

The holiday season always provides a sharp reminder that there are plenty of young families also eager to experience life on the road, and the statistics prove that their numbers are surging.

Survey data from Tourism Research Australia shows that people aged 25 to 44-years-old have taken the most domestic caravan and camping trips each year for the past five years. They took nearly 40% of trips in the year to June 2014.

People aged 65 years and older accounted for just 14% of trips.

Caravan Industry Association of Australia chief executive Stuart Lamont told WA Today that young Australians, particularly those with kids in tow, were by far the industry’s biggest consumers.

“Grey nomads are very prominent and maybe that gives the perception that they are the ones who caravan most,” Mr Lamont said. “They are highly important in our sector, but they are just not in the same numbers as the family market.”

A report commissioned by the Caravan Industry Association of Australia found that for the industry to be successful over the next decade it must continue to tap into the young family market.

According to the report, this market will be one of the largest and fastest growing over the next decade, while retirees will remain a relatively small cohort.

“Not only are young people still caravanning, they are probably caravanning in greater numbers than ever before,” Mr Lamont told WA Today. “I think they think back to the holidays they had and they are yearning for that simplicity, to go back to nature and have that family connection.”

  • Have you noticed more young families on the road in recent times? Do you think there is a danger that the caravan industry will move too much towards catering to the family market at the expense of grey nomads? Comment below.

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5 Responses to Will generation game see grey nomads lose out?

  1. We have travelled from Busselton to Brisbane since 16th July and haven’t noticed an increase in younger families at all, not in vans anyway, there are always some families staying in on site accommodation in fact when we were staying at Cairns Coconut Resort in August, the Park wouldn’t have been half full. Late Dec and Jan are always busy in the tourist areas; we live in Busselton, prime example.

  2. I’m having trouble understanding this. Recently the Caravan Park Assn
    was quoting that only 13% of RV people were disgruntled with Caravan Parks. These people all belonged to CMCA according to their research.
    Does the Caravan Park Assn believe that CMCA has all but 1% of grey nomads traveling around Australia? Also If they are so happy with the young family clientele that have different needs and are often better cash resources than grey nomads why are they giving grey nomads grief about freedom camping. They should concentrate on the more lucrative market and keep their caravan sites free for the younger set who frequently stay for a week or more, where grey nomads often only stop overnight to do a laundry, use the dump point and top up water tanks. The caravan Parks make sure we know they hate this practice and claim we are just using them up. They would be better off if they charged a $5 fee to use the laundry & dump point, fill water tanks and then clear off to a freedom camp, leaving the Park sites for the younger set. It’s a case of wanting to butter their bread on both sides. They love to put up prices during peak periods because the demand exceeds the available sites and Caravan Parks know they can charge whatever they want. Young-uns have the cash to pay and because grey nomads only want to stay overnight they are given rotten sites, often without a tap or sullage point within cooee of where we are parked.

  3. Apart from school holiday periods grey nomads out number the family groups. Coastal Parks tend to price gouge during these periods which keeps the grey nomads away from their sites. Grey nomads head well inland or go home during peak times. The young people might be leading the charge but I am sure like anything there are ups and downs. Parks just have to follow the trends and adjust accordingly to what they see as there market at the time but be sure to cater for all groups.

  4. The figures in this survey don’t stack up in my opinion.
    If 25-44 yo make 40% and 65+ make just 14% of trips this leaves a massive 46% made by 45-64 yo but no one caters to them because maybe they don”t exist,

  5. Mmmm, statistics create a life of their own. Some parents will take their children out of school for a “long service leave” trip of approximately 3 months, a few weeks to avoid the “crowds” during school holiday time or regular short trips of 2-4weeks duration during school holidays. I know of and have met on the road, families who have travelled under these circumstances.

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