Tourism Research Australia (TRA) data released today shows the largest growth in the history of data collection for domestic caravanning and camping trips. And it’s the younger demographic groups that are driving the growth in what can only be called a booming tourism sector.
A total of 11.6 million caravanning and camping trips were taken by Australians for the year ending June 2016, representing a 13% increase on the previous year and the highest recorded annual growth to date. Total caravan and camping nights for the domestic market also jumped 13% to 49.2 million – yet another record for this period.
Demographically, it’s the 30 to 54 year old segment that is driving the growth in trips, representing 46% of the market and showing strong growth at 11% on the previous year. That’s not to say the 55 plus demographic, affectionately termed the ‘Grey Nomads’, isn’t out there in force too – they still retain the largest market share in caravan and camping when it comes to nights at 41%, but only just.
The 30 to 54 segment, often families, are right behind the grey nomads in domestic nights at 40%, which is remarkable given that the younger demographic typically travel around work and school commitments when compared to the more leisurely lifestyles of retirees. The 55 plus segment have still continued to grow but it’s the 30 to 54s that are showing more than double the growth of the older market in domestic trips.
Right on the heels of these two demographic groups is the even younger 20 to 29 segment, who accounted for 18% of caravanning and camping trips, which represents a whopping 19% of growth on the previous year. Whoever says caravanning and camping is a holiday reserved for retirees, overlooks the huge number of young Australians now making this their holiday of choice. A road trip renaissance is well and truly upon us.
TRA suggests that these increases in domestic tourism are driven in part by a demand for outdoor experiences and healthy, active living. A caravanning and camping holiday is uniquely positioned to deliver on this desire and also provides great freedom in the level of luxury preferred – from camping in the great outdoors to relaxing in a luxury spa cabin to travelling in a decked out van.
Domestic travel also accounts for 90% of all tourism spend in regional area, increasing by 6% this period to reach a record $45.1 billion. Caravan Industry Association of Australia CEO, Stuart Lamont, says, “The caravan industry prides itself on its significant contribution to regional economies in Australia, where most caravanning and camping trips occur. It’s a lifestyle that supports local communities and businesses that depend on tourism, and it’s great to see more and more Australians choosing to holiday at home for this reason”.
The backdrop to all the positive growth is low fuel prices and historically low interest rates, encouraging discretionary expenditure from domestic consumers. This is further supported by the declining value of the dollar contributing to more Australians holidaying at home, creating growth in caravanning and camping. New consumers are being attracted to the outdoor lifestyle while existing markets who may have holidayed internationally in the past are reconnecting in even greater numbers.