The ‘grey nomads’ are primed to lead the tourism rebound, but the road is still a little bumpy
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When tourism is allowed to recommence, the caravan and camping sector is tipped to head the comeback.
A survey by the Caravan Industry Association of Australia found that caravaners and campers are seven times more likely to take an immediate holiday when restrictions are lifted.
And this is no fringe demographic, 500,000 travellers indicated they were keen to travel. There’s no lack of supply either with 711,000 registered RVs in Australia.
The survey also found the average trip would involve $584 in spending and this could inject $292m into the regional travel economy.
The Caravan Industry Association of Australia also says it will be easier for the industry to bounce back than hotels and airlines.
“Most caravan and holiday parks have implemented COVID-19 safe guidelines already, catering for permanent residents, essential workers and stranded caravaners,” the organisation said.
“This includes contact tracing, social distancing and increased hygiene regimes in common areas and amenities.
“Unlike other accommodation they also don’t have shared lifts and lobbies or shared air-conditioning facilities.”
The impact of COVID-19 followed the devastating bushfires over the summer.
Small cap Apollo Tourism & Leisure (ASX:ATL) bore the full brunt of the COVID-19 impact, falling 83 per cent between December 30 and March 24.
But this week it told shareholders brighter days were ahead. The company is already seeing Australian RV orders return to pre-COVID levels since the start of May.
Apollo has launched an “on the road again” campaign to target potential customers wanting a self-drive holiday after lockdown.
“These actions give us confidence that the business will be in a position to benefit when tourism activity recovers,” managing director Luke Trouchet said.
However, things appear less rosy in the US because of the higher number of COVID-19 cases and deaths. This has prompted Apollo to place its business there in hibernation until the summer of 2021.
The company is also scaling back its manufacturing of caravans, closing its New Zealand factory and operating its Australian factory on a retail requirement only basis.