John and Lillian Lever with one of their babies at the Koorana Crocodile Farm. The Capricorn Coast tourist park and Great Keppel Island are among the favourite stops for grey nomads.
John and Lillian Lever with one of their babies at the Koorana Crocodile Farm. The Capricorn Coast tourist park and Great Keppel Island are among the favourite stops for grey nomads. CONTRIBUTED

Capricorn region a magnet for grey nomads seeking warmth

AFFECTIONATELY referred to as 'the grey nomads', our southern visitors escaping the cold and travelling by caravan, campertrailer or RV are one of Queensland's largest tourism markets each winter.

The Capricorn region, which stretches from the Central Highlands to the Keppel Islands, contains several iconic destinations which this market seeks, including Carnarvon Gorge, the Sapphire Gemfields, Mount Morgan, Rockhampton and the Capricorn Coast.

There are 28 commercial caravan parks in the region which provide up to 2000 caravan and camping sites and nearly 500 cabins.

We experience very high occupancies at our caravan parks from June through to September/October, which is the traditional winter season.

Market days throughout the region are popular, and Carnarvon Gorge and the Sapphire Gemfields are highly sought after by this market.

These visitors traverse the state and use different highways into our region, including the Great Inland Hwy, Leichhardt Hwy (joins the Newell Hwy at the Qld/NSW border, Australia's Country Way (Burnett Hwy) and the Pacific Touring Route (Bruce Hwy).

Capricorn Enterprise chief executive officer Mary Carroll said the economic benefit of this market segment to the Capricorn region was significant - around the $15-20 million mark.

"About 216,000 site nights (based on 90% occupancy over 2000 sites) at an average of $25 per night equals $5.4 million just for accommodation," she said.

"That's not including purchase of food, fuel and tours, visits to the chemist, hardware stores etc," she added.

Hey grey spender

AN economic benefit study was conducted by BDO for the Caravan, RV & Accommodation Industry of Australia in October 2012. Some of the findings were:

Commercial caravan parks contribute more than $1.26m on average to their local region / economy a year, not including the flow-on effect of tourists spending with other businesses in the region

For every $1 of park income, $1.38 of local economic activity is generated by the individual park

Tourist parks account for about 12% of accommodation industry revenue and 9% of industry employment

A 2011 RV Futures Forum found

Grey nomads spend about $3.2billlion a year in regional Queensland

On average they spend 156 days a trip and between $500-900 a week



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