PORT Stephens and the Myall are set to boom in the wake of COVID-19 if we get our tourism offering right for the grey nomads and families that will be holidaying in Australia while the rest of the world is off limits.
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The Caravan Industry Association of Australia has welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement of a $250 million regional Australia package with $150 million specifically for tourism and infrastructure projects to assist regional tourism.
Caravanning and camping allows tourists to ‘control their own environment’, and the industry is poised to help in the immediate recovery of regional tourism as caravanners and campers travel further and for longer as Australians look to explore our own backyard.
Visitor expenditure by caravanning and camping tourists already contribute over $10 billion annually with a significant amount of this dispersed across regional and rural Australia, supporting local jobs and contractors.
Caravan Industry Association of Australia CEO Stuart Lamont said, “The Tourism Industry has been savaged through a winter of COVID off the back of a summer of bushfires.
“While we have seen recent green shoots in concentrated regions, many tourism industry businesses (and those businesses which rely on tourism) continue to be on their knees.
“We are in a feast or famine situation at present with some of our most significant tourism regions hardest hit with the challenges of 2020.”
“With many of Australia’s tourism icons located in the regions, and international travel off the cards for some time yet, today’s announcement is a significant boost for domestic tourism, while encouraging the development of important tourism infrastructure which will underpin the industry when normal travel returns,” he said.
The Caravan Industry Association of Australia’s is calling for shovel ready tourism projects to be supported in regional Australia.
These projects will not only introduce or upgrade important long-term assets but will encourage the use of local contractors, local accommodation, and the use of local services during construction.
With caravan and camping in 2019 being the number one commercial accommodation provider in regional Australia, the announcement provides some level of optimism for operators still reeling from huge losses from touring markets.
Developing experiences such as the Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary gives regions a unique point of difference which could be the reason why caravanners choose to visit a region.
Port Stephens Council’s Kim Latham told News Of The Area, “Accommodation at the Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary is at 80% for the first weekend and that is before we have started marketing the glamping experience.”
Port Stephens and the Myall sit in a unique position only a short drive from the cities of Sydney and Newcastle they offer a beachside holiday with attractions which include hinterland, coastal as well as gastronomic tourism with the additional bonus of day trips into the Hunter Valley to tourists.
Our fauna and flora is accessible with Dingos in Mungo Brush, Koalas in Hawks Nest, Tilligerry and the Bay not to mention kangaroos, echidnas, and our native birdlife.
There are a host of caravan and camping sites around Port Stephens and the Myall that cater to individuals needs, time and desired experience.
It is hoped that more infrastructure projects will be invested in through this fund in the region.
The Tomaree Coastal Walk is one project which is already funded which enhances the destination for those wishing to either engage in the entire trek or simply enjoy sections of the coastline from Tomaree Headland south.
By Marian SAMPSON