LOCAL holiday parks have had a “bumper” season, with occupancy rates across the Bega Valley surging.
It’s part of a state-wide trend as holiday parks up and down the coast of NSW are reporting more visitors this holiday season, with occupancy rates very strong from Boxing Day up until the end of last week.
“Our 400 holiday park members are to be congratulated for their tireless efforts during the peak season, which have resulted in higher occupancy rates than this time last year, with some reporting increases of more than 10 per cent,” president of the Caravan and Camping Industry Association of NSW (CCIA) Theo Whitmont said.
“Our sector contributes about $1.7billion to NSW’s economy, with more than 90 per cent of caravan and camping nights spent in regional areas.”
Owner of Wallaga Lake’s Regatta Point Holiday Park Lyn Mott said her business had been having a “fantastic” season.
“Our numbers are up on last year, definitely,” Ms Mott said.
“During 2012 we spent a lot of time on marketing and we really tried to get the word out about our business at regional caravan shows.
“The marketing of our business has had a very positive effect on our numbers.
“However, I’ve noticed that business is booming all around, it’s the busiest I’ve seen Bermagui in years and the whole place is buzzing.”
Operators around the Valley have benefitted from better weather conditions this year as holiday makers enjoy warm temperatures and sunny skies after two rainy summers.
However, last week’s heatwave proved bad news for some operators.
John Carlon from Bega Caravan Park said the only hiccup in his season were last week’s bushfires.
“We started off brilliantly with great occupancy rates in the cabins and the powered caravan sites, but a lot of people left when the bushfires broke out in Brogo.
“Some visitors didn’t realise how safe it was in Bega so they panicked and left.
“We also had non-arrivals because they couldn’t get through at the Princes Hwy for a bit.”
Despite this setback, Mr Carlon is feeling positive about the rest of January.
“Things have picked up already and the Australia Day weekend is looking strong,” he said.
Mr Whitmont from the CCIA said the combination of beautiful locations and quality activities was the key to attracting families to caravan parks.
“NSW holiday parks continue to be popular holiday choices as they have a huge range of activities and facilities, such as resort style swimming pools, water parks, kids’ clubs and cafes to ensure that children are kept busy and adults are relaxed,” Mr Whitmont said.
This sentiment was echoed by Gary McKay from the Big4 Tathra Beach Holiday Park.
“We don’t just offer a powered site, we have a pool, playground, games room and a kids’ club during the school holidays,” he said.
Mr McKay reported 100 per cent occupancy for January, but said things will quieten down after Australia Day.
“Operators look at different ways to bring people in outside of peak periods because that is only a small part of the year.
“Many organise activities for the kids or host morning teas for guests - touches like that will ensure people come back again and again.”