Demand for eco-camping and caravanning shows no signs of slowing down in South Australia with two new sites being developed in Port MacDonnell and Penola.
- Glamping continues to grow in popularity across the region of South Australia
- Two new glamping sites are being developed in Penola and Port MacDonnell
- A younger population was increasingly adopting camping and caravanning
A southeastern holiday park operator said the popularity of eco-tents and ‘glamping’ has grown in the region, with two new sites being developed in Port MacDonnell and Penola.
Around 90% of caravanning and camping takes place in the regions, with the industry generating around $689 million a year, giving the regional regions a significant financial boost.
Coonawarra Bush Holiday Park owner Steven Moignard said he installed 20 eco-tents at his site in 2015 and saw growth of around 25% each year before the pandemic hit.
Now, following a grant from the Department of Environment and Water, Mr Moignard plans to pitch another 20 tents at a new site in Dingley Dell, near Port MacDonnell.
Mr. Moignard says the “glamping” experience is popular because visitors can enjoy camping without having to give up their comforts.
“If you equip them with heaters, air conditioners, electric blankets, kettles, fireplaces, outdoor picnic tables, people can have a camping experience without having to know anything about camping or camping. setting up a tent,” he said.
“It’s less risky than camping alone, where you can be wiped out by wind or rain and not have fun.
But it’s not just people who are new to the camping experience and are trending towards glamping.
“We get a lot of experienced campers and people with caravans who come to stay at glamping sites because they don’t have to unpack,” Moignard said.
“It’s just practical and it’s a bit different.
“You can see the sky, be woken up by the birds. You kind of feel a little closer to nature.”
Less capital investment
Mr Moignard said glamping tents were also more cost effective to set up than traditional accommodation.
“They cost us about $5-10,000,000 to install…compared to the $80,000-90,000 to install a cabin.
“You get a couple of years lifespan for each one and you might only have to replace the canvas every two years, everything else you can keep.”
He says these eco-friendly tents are also kinder to the environment.
“Cabins aren’t really removable. Once you put them in, they’re pretty much permanent.
“While glamping tents, you can move them around and you can return the environment to its current state if you decide to move it.”
SA Parks chief executive Fiona Williams said camping and caravanning had seen a huge boom in recent years, with holidaymakers spending 4.6 million nights camping last year.
She said camping and caravanning is now the number one choice for overnight travel in South Australia as the industry experiences a shift towards a younger demographic.
“People think caravan and camping and they think gray nomads, but what we find is that the biggest number of trips is actually the 30-44 market.”
Ms Williams said COVID has increased the popularity of inter- and intra-state travel in areas with large numbers of people staying in RV and camping parks.
“For the first time last year, we had 1.3 million trips made by caravans and campers in South Australia,” she said.
“It’s a huge market and it contributes a lot to the local economy of visitors to South Australia.”
Ms Williams said the caravan and camping industry remained strong after the COVID border closures and continued to grow.
“What we saw during COVID was obviously huge demand to get out into the regions and use trailer parks and caravan and camping products,” she said.
“Historically what we have seen is that even through previous economic and social shocks, the caravan park sector has been quite resilient.
“I think it’s because in a park there’s a whole range of different options and prices.”
Ms Williams believes glamping’s popularity will continue to grow as it represents a ‘romantic’ introduction to both caravanning and camping and the ‘great outdoors’.
“It’s a way to experience nature without giving up those little luxuries that people like to have on vacation.”
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