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Caravan industry remains strong in face of challenges

More passionate than ever: Despite economic challenges, Australia's love affair with the RV, caravan & camping lifestyle continues to grow

The number of annual caravan and camping trips in Australia has grown despite challenges and is now overtaking 2019 levels according to a recent report by leading industry body.

The Caravan Industry Association of Australia’s Business Conditions Report for January 2023 signals the strength of the industry in the face of increasing challenges.  The six-monthly analysis of the performance, outlook, and sentiment of Australia’s caravan industry demonstrates significant growth across the industry, with tinges of a slowdown on the horizon.

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The Business Conditions Report dives into Australia’s continued love affair with the RV and Caravan lifestyle, a love affair that picked up real momentum during the pandemic.

Current economic conditions are acting as protective factors for the industry with tightening household spending limiting international travel, a trend that is expected to see domestic travel remain strong.

The strength in the industry is evident by the growth in the number of annual caravan and camping trips in Australia overtaking the 2019 levels, with 15.1 million trips and 60.1 million visitor nights recorded at the end of 2022.

Caravan Industry Association of Australia CEO, Stuart Lamont, said: “This is a significant milestone for the industry, as it is the first time that the caravan and camping visitor economy has surpassed 15 million trips and 60 million nights.

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CIAA Chief Executive, Stuart Lamont

“These impressive figures not only reflect Australians’ enduring passion for caravan and camping but also demonstrate the industry’s collaborative efforts in providing diverse and tailored products and services.”

“The caravan and camping industry has faced a challenging operating environment in 2022, like many industries around the country, the escalating cost of doing business due to inflationary pressures, labour shortages, and supply chain disruptions, resulting in an upsurge in material costs, overhead expenses, wages, and overtime pay, prompting businesses to increase their average selling prices. Despite these challenges the industry has continued to grow and push back against the tide.”

“We are really pleased to see the industry continue to track along a positive trend, we know the market is hotting up with increased competition from short-haul international markets and cruising. Once again, the industry is up to the challenge with a competitive advantage in its unique ability to adapt its products, services, and experiences to suit varying economic conditions, which will help to sustain its fundamentals and appeal to diverse segments of the market.”

“We expect the next twelve months to remain complex for the industry, with a tight labour market and unemployment rate at just 3.4 percent resulting in increased wages and robust consumption activity,” said Stuart.

While striving for continued growth the industry stands ready for more uncertainty, the Australian government’s strategic trade diversification, including exploring new markets in India and solidifying the Australia-Europe free trade agreement in the second half of 2023, presents new opportunities to diversify the industry’s supply chains as well as open new international markets.

Businesses across the industry share the sentiment from the broader community with concerns regarding financial, industry, and consumer sentiment. This is leading to Caravan Industry businesses expecting a slight weakening of the economy in the next six months. However, with businesses adapting to the current situation, there are still opportunities for growth and success in the caravan and camping industry.

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