The Caravan Industry has more work to do to reap the full potential of modern, sophisticated cabins in Australias caravan parks.
And caravan parks have themselves contributed to the issue of Free camping by motor home and campervan owners.
Jayco Corporation's Managing Director, Gerry Ryan, OAM, founder of Australias leading caravan and recreational vehicle builder told visiting members of the Family Parks of Australia and New Zealand caravan park chain today that both cabins and Free camping were opportunities for the caravan and camping industry throughout Australia.
Gerry Ryan is pictured with (from left) FPA President Mark Lindsay, Jayco Fleet Manager, Robert Ensink and far right FPA, CEO, Noel Guthrie.
His big Family Parks audience at Jaycos Dandenong South headquarters included 16 representatives from Family Parks New Zealand who attended the conference for the first time.
FPA Australia and FPA New Zealand met at the sparkling new RACV Club in Bourke St., Melbourne from Sunday, September 11 to Wednesday, September 14.
The Jayco tour experience introduced FPAs delegates from Australia and New Zealand to the down to earth company which Gerry Ryan founded on camper trailers.
He and a founding family of executives, who are largely still at Jayco, nursed the caravan builder through the Recession we had to have and grew it to its leading 44 per cent share of the Australian caravan and recreational vehicle market.
Jayco started 30 years ago in a shed in a Dandenong paddock. Now the company employs over 550 people who produce a range of motor homes, pop-tops, camper trailers and caravans.
Jayco Corporation is the 2005 Victorian Manufacturing Hall of Fame award winner.
Jayco is now building B and C level motor homes based on the reliable Fiat Ducato. Mr Ryan, who has just returned from the U.S., where 60c a litre fuel angers Americans, said that while Australian fuel costs would be felt by Australian caravan parks and related industries motor homes are an opportunity for caravan park owners.
But there is concern, particularly in Queensland, that Free camping and competition from some councils, at prices which undercuts caravan parks disadvantages caravan park owners unfairly.
A Queensland caravan park owner, who attended the FPA conference, told GoSeeAustralia that councils who were competing with caravan parks offered cheap camping at show grounds and similar sites.
He said this was unfair as councils were funded by ratepayers and not subjected to the same regulations, high establishment costs and constant outgoings which are part of the high cost of running a quality caravan park.
'Free' camping by some motor home and campervan owners, who simply pull up at rest areas, reserves or just camp beside the road is a hot topic among caravan park owners throughout Australia who are concerned at the potential loss of revenue.
But Gerry Ryan said park owners had contributed to some extent to Free camping and they now had an opportunity to provide drive-through camping sites and related facilities which met the needs of the rapidly increasing number of Baby Boomers who were spending the kids inheritance on getting on the road themselves.
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