An Open Letter to Industry | National COVID-19: Update #1

< Date: 17 March 2020

There is no doubt we are living through unprecedented times and that the impact of the Bushfire crisis and the COVID-19 outbreak will have significant impacts on communities, businesses, industry and the economy across Australia.

While the tourism industry is suffering, the caravanning and camping sector will prove the most resilient. History tells us that global uncertainty will lead to an increase in people ‘holidaying at home’ and State and Federal Government funding is supporting our cause. 

The impact the current COVID-19 crisis will have is yet to be determined. However, this is not the time to adopt a “wait and see approach”.  In times of crisis, it is imperative to act with purposefulness and to prepare for the recovery phase – which will come.  

Caravan Industry Association of Australia stands beside you through these challenging times and is undertaking a raft of initiatives to help buoy your businesses and our industry:  

1. Government representation 

On a Federal level we are working closely with the Department of Health, the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, Tourism Australia, and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in particular, as well as with relevant Ministers to ensure that the Government is kept well informed of challenges being faced by industry businesses.   

We are advocating for industry funding as well as making sure that caravanning and camping is considered within Government policy.  

There are also obviously broader Government announcements such as those made last week around accelerated depreciation, funding for trainees and apprentices, instant asset write-off provisions, and PAYG relaxation which apply to all businesses and available to many industry businesses, but some of our specific advocacy includes: 

  • Informing Government of the immense pressure industry businesses are under through supply chain issues in trade, as well as cancellations in tourism.  This is based on research provided by industry businesses; 
  • Supporting that Tourism Australia should permanently retain a domestic marketing role; 
  • Encouraging Tourism Australia to consider umbrella marketing activity for industry showcasing the benefits of caravanning and camping for domestic travellers; 
  • Seeking clarification regarding government definition on matters such as mass gatherings and self isolation;
  • Calling for the current defib subsidy available for caravan parks be extended further to bushfire affected regions; 
  • Calling for the current stimulus marketing funding provided by industry to get people into caravan and camping is matched by Government; 
  • Informing Government that caravan and camping presents a strong opportunity to match policy around regional dispersal and social wellbeing, as well as being an early enabler for regional communities;  
  • Pushing that Government funding should include caravan parks becoming international ready while providing for international funding when the market turns;     
  • Advocating that Government should be supporting local caravanning manufacturing to protect local jobs; and 
  • Reiterating that regulations should be more strongly enforced by appropriate regulators and Government Departments to ensure that consumer safety is protected and warning of the risk that non-compliant product is flooding the market during soft market conditions.        


2. Increasing consumer communications 

Our Keep on Camping platform which was developed post bushfire recovery, will be positioned to help drive the message that the caravan and camping businesses are open for business and will need the support of Australians. This will be supported by our Let’s Go Caravan and Camping assets to be used to inspire domestic travellers towards a caravanning and camping adventure.   

Caravan Industry Association of Australia has direct access to over 800,000 caravan and camping consumers, 400,000 of which have been enriched to allow targeted and segmented industry messaging.  This travelling community, like many Australians, are fearful of the unknown and in times of crisis, will contemplate their need to purchase recreational vehicles or to undertake a caravan and camping holiday.   

While the sensitivities of the current challenges must be acknowledged, it is important that we deliver factual and positive messages so that our consumers are encouraged to consider caravanning and camping for their next holiday option or consumer purchase.   

3. Provide businesses with insights

Now, more than ever, there is a need to provide timely and relevant insights to guide commercial decision making. Caravan Industry Association of Australia is undertaking regular consumer and industry confidence surveying to ensure industry and government have the latest insights into the performance of the industry.  Research results will also be provided through an online dashboard, which will be available for all of industry in due course.  This is in addition to our regular monthly accommodation, manufacturing and import insights.  

The Australian caravanning and camping industry is resilient, and we have weathered significant crisis before.  Our strength in industry is the ability to come together in times of need and to face these challenges head on.  We expect nothing less as we work through these challenges together which have been thrown at us since particularly October last year.     

On a personal note, the safety and health of all our staff, colleagues, friends and family is of the utmost importance at this time.  As an Association, we are well prepared for any government enforced lock down which may see our physical office closed.  In the event this occurs, the Association will activate its remote working action plan which will ensure that all of the core functions and activities that we currently provide, are still able to continue.   

As government, industry and communities work though these interesting times, the national association supported by our member state associations are committed to doing our part to ensure the caravan and camping industry remains strong, and that as an industry we are well prepared to take advantage when current restrictions ease.  

If you would like more information and resources regarding the COVID-19 situation, head to www.caravanindustry.com.au/coronavirus-covid-19-information