The time for a staged reopening of caravan parks is now
21 May 2020
State Member for Eildon Cindy McLeish is calling for a staged reopening of caravan parks.
Hearing from owners directly, Ms McLeish wrote to the Minister for Consumer Affairs expressing concerns and advocating for caravan park owners who are financially struggling due to coronavirus restrictions and need to reopen.
Ms McLeish said, “Like many businesses in the area, caravan parks are doing it tough.”
“Now would be an ideal time to introduce staged reopening for caravan parks as the winter period begins which is notably quiet for tourism trade.
“Caravan park owners are deeply concerned regarding the viability of their business if they stay closed for much longer.”
Caravan parks have been closed since March 25. With the relaxation on some restrictions, the industry is now calling for the implementation of a staged reopening to bring the tourism industry back to the community.
Ms McLeish continues, “Annual site holders are itching to return to their caravan sites during winter to conduct maintenance or just visit, which would begin to stimulate local economies.”
“Of course, we need to remain vigilant and can’t be complacent, yet at the same time we must move to rebuild our smaller regional communities,” Ms McLeish concludes.
Caravan parks are instrumental to the financial income to many businesses in small towns in Victoria and the Eildon electorate.
Owner of Eildon Waters Holiday Park, Gary McMillan knows firsthand the struggles rural towns and the industry are facing.
Mr McMillan said, “Eildon and the rural economy relies on tourism. A lot of places have closed in the area due to COVID-19 and may never reopen.”
“In small communities people invest a little bit of money but they don’t have a lot in reserve. All the money comes in from tourists.”
“It’s really important that we get back to some normality and start opening caravan parks,” Mr McMillan concludes.
There are 20 caravan parks in the Murrindindi and Mansfield Shires, offering 1,650 annual sites and 191 cabins, with the average of four people per site. At its busiest time, there are some 11,200 people accommodated.
It has been reported since COVID-19 restrictions were introduced and the drop of tourism numbers, trading, business and the economy has been down 70% in Eildon and down 50% in Alexandra.
The Caravan Park industry provides over $424 million directly to the Victorian economy and $2.4 billion in associated visitor expenditure largely in regional towns.