Demand grows for free or cheap camp sites

Free or low cost camp sites way of the future for outback tourism

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CHANGED MARKET: Southern Queensland Country Tourism chief executive officer Peter Homan says that free or low cost camp sites are a necessity for outback towns.

CHANGED MARKET: Southern Queensland Country Tourism chief executive officer Peter Homan says that free or low cost camp sites are a necessity for outback towns.

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Low or no cost camp sites are being mooted as the way of the future with self-contained caravans and motorhomes now dominating the recreational vehicle market.

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Low or no cost camp sites are being mooted as the way of the future with self-contained caravans and motorhomes now dominating the recreational vehicle market.

Southern Queensland Country Tourism chief executive officer Peter Homan said responding to market demand for things such as low or no cost camping, dump points and more spacious campsites was vital for outback towns.

"Eight years ago it was difficult to purchase an Australian-made recreational vehicle with onboard toilets and showers, now the majority of the market is fully self-contained," he said.

"It's a disrupter in the market ... councils have to provide these things or risk losing visitors. If you're not an RV-friendly town, those visitors will simply go onto the next town."

Mr Homan said forward-thinking Queensland councils and campsite operators were responding to market needs.

"We can look at many outback councils in Queensland and see they are responding well, providing these sites, which are very busy," he said.

"There are angry caravan park owners out there but it's not the councils that have changed the market, the market has already changed and councils are simply responding. There is room for caravan parks to change their models- that could be by providing bigger spaces suitable to these vehicles or by providing more cabins to tap into a different market."

Mr Homan said there was an incorrect perception self-drive tourist did not spend money in the region's towns.

"One in 13 Australian households own a recreational vehicle and current Tourism Research Australia figures put the national annual spend at $7.9 billion and 13 million trips," he said.

"We know in southern Queensland self-drive tourists spend money on eating out, fuel, mechanical repairs and servicing, healthcare and tourism experiences."

The story Demand grows for free or cheap camp sites first appeared on Queensland Country Life.

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