Council working to create happy campers

Date published: 29 July 2020

Townsville City Council has updated its proposed Recreational Vehicle (RV) and Camping Strategy after receiving more than 250 submissions on the draft.

The strategy was developed to improve visitor numbers, increase the amount of money spent in the region and review community feedback.

Acting Mayor Mark Molachino said Council welcomed the responses it received during its two-month survey.

“RV and camping travel is one of the fastest-growing tourist sectors in Australia, so we need to make sure the region can meet the needs of a wide range of tourists, especially in the peak season from June to August,” Cr Molachino said.

“The RV and Camping Strategy looks at more than just the Council campgrounds; it is also focusing on how we can encourage the private sector to expand and take advantage of this rapidly growing tourism industry to support jobs and the Townsville economy.

“Camping and RV tourist numbers have doubled in the last 10 years and the Strategy aims to make the region the highlight of their trip to North Queensland.

“Community consultation is really important to get this right, which is why we asked for residents and tourists to have their say through the Have Your Say platform and receiving 255 submissions means we know which parts of the Strategy need a second look.”

Community Safety and Environment Committee chairwoman Margie Ryder said most submissions received were residents and travellers expressing concerns over the proposed booking fees and online booking systems for Council-operated campgrounds.

“Part of the Strategy called for the implementation of an online booking system and a small booking fee to make managing the campgrounds more efficient. After the feedback we received, we took another look at these parts of the Strategy,” Cr Ryder said.

“One issue Council has with these campgrounds is that without a booking system, it becomes difficult to ensure campers are moving on and allowing space for other travellers to stay.

“To combat this and address concerns from the submissions received, Council will still adopt an online booking system, but will also take phone bookings through Customer Service for those without internet access.

“This will allow Council staff to manage bookings more efficiently, especially during our peak winter months.

“Council proposes to postpone the introduction of a booking fee for 12 months to collect more data.”

Australian Caravan Club Director Graeme Tree said campers and RV owners bring a lot of money to the community.

“The development of the Strategy is a good step to encourage all travellers to stop and stay and spend some money in the region,” Mr Tree said.

“We have determined that an RV couple spends around $100 a day on accommodation, fuel and sightseeing, so that’s quite a significant dollar figure that is up for grabs.”

Mr Tree said people will embrace the online booking system.

“Most RV owners have Internet access. I have a mobile phone with 4G or generally a laptop, so that is not a big deal. Anyone with a smartphone can do it. I would suggest 80 to 90% of our members could book online,” Mr Tree said.

The 2020 RV and Camping Strategy can be downloaded from the Parks, Trails & Camping page.