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Australian caravan & camping industry celebrates another year of success

In his column for AccomNews CIAA CEO, Stuart Lamont talks about the strength of the caravan industry & the National Conference 2023

In May, Australia’s caravan park industry is set to celebrate another year of success, at its annual national conference to be held in the Gold Coast.

At the Caravan Industry National Conference 2023 from May 10 to 12 at RACV Royal Pines Resort, Gold Coast, Queensland, delegates will enjoy an exciting program of events.

An exhibition and conference with keynote speakers bringing valuable insights, practical strategies, and inspiring stories to help navigate the challenges and opportunities facing the caravan and camping industry.  

CIAA conference 2022

Attendees at this spectacular event can also participate in a range of fun social activities from a Zumbo cooking class and Goat Yoga to barbeques and golf.

The conference culminates with the spectacular industry Gala Dinner, which is an opportunity to dress up and revel in the excitement of the presentation of prestigious awards: The Eric Hayman Award for Excellence, The Gerry Ryan OAM Award for Innovation, and The Future Leaders Award.

See more about the event HERE

In his regular column for AccomNews, CIAA CEO, Stuart Lamont said the association’s recently released Business Conditions Report for January 2023, highlighted the strength of the Australian caravan industry despite ongoing challenges.

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CIAA Chief Executive, Stuart Lamont

The report, which analyses the performance, outlook, and sentiment of the Australian caravan industry, continues to demonstrate significant growth across the industry. While there are some signs of a slowdown on the horizon, the report notes that the current economic conditions are also acting as protective factors for the industry.

It also reveals that Australia’s love affair with the RV and caravan lifestyle has only continued to gain momentum during the pandemic. Tightening household spending has limited international travel, which has resulted in an increase in domestic activity.

The growth in the number of annual caravan and camping trips in Australia has overtaken 2019 pre-pandemic levels, with 15.1 million trips and 60.1 million visitor nights recorded at the end of 2022.

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 ever.

These 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 with the consumer in mind.

Our latest AccomNews print issue is available now. Read it HERE

The sector, like many, faced challenging operating environments in 2022 with inflationary pressures, labour shortages, and supply chain disruptions, resulting in an upsurge in material costs, overhead expenses, wages, and overtime.

Despite this, the industry has continued to grow and push back against the tide.

The report states that the industry is up to the challenge of increased competition from short-haul international markets and cruising, with the 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.

However, the report expects the next twelve months to remain complex for the industry, with a tight labour market and low unemployment rate, resulting in increased wages and robust consumption activity. Although these conditions are also supporting growth in wages, which may further boost the economy in the coming years, businesses across the industry share the broader community’s concerns regarding financial, industry, and consumer sentiment. This is leading to businesses in the caravan industry expecting a slight weakening of the economy in the next six months.

CIAA conference 2022

The recent global economic developments, including the rise in inflation due to conflicts in Ukraine and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic supply chain complications, have prompted central banks to increase interest rates in an effort to combat the issue. The resulting increases are expected to continue, with economists forecasting a slow return to target levels that may require tighter policy settings.

Bev Martin Textiles CIAA conference 2022

As a consequence, the full effects of these increases may not be felt until well into 2023. In the context of the caravan and camping industry, these interest rate increases may translate into higher borrowing costs for businesses and consumers, which could impact demand for these products and services, albeit a bonanza for those consumers with investment income.

Nonetheless, with businesses adapting to the current situation, there are still opportunities for growth and success in the caravan and camping industry. The Australian government’s efforts to diversify trade relations, including exploring new markets in India and solidifying the Australia-Europe free trade agreement in the second half of 2023, also present new opportunities to diversify the industry’s supply chains as well as open new international markets.

AH Beard CIAA conference 2022

Despite the challenges that lie ahead, CIAA’s Business Conditions Report for January 2023 suggests that the caravan industry is holding up well and has even shown significant growth in recent years.

While the industry may face some headwinds from rising inflation and interest rates, businesses are adapting to the current situation and identifying opportunities for diversification and expansion.

RMS, CIAA conference 2022

Ultimately, the report demonstrates that the Australian caravan industry is well-positioned to weather these challenges and continue to provide Australians with high-quality, tailored products and services that cater to a diverse range of needs and preferences.

The caravan and camping industry has proven time and time again its competitive advantage in adapting to fluctuating economic conditions, and with new opportunities on the horizon, the future looks bright for this sector of the accommodation industry.

Register for the Caravan Industry Association of Australia National Conference 2023 HERE

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