Understanding changes in the caravanning sector: A case study
Caravanning is a specialised form of drive tourism, the essence of which is captured in the banner on the front cover of a popular caravan magazine (Caravan and Motorhome 2004: 1), which proclaimed, ‘Seek freedom! Life on the open road, your home at your back – what could be better?’. In Australia, this popular form of holidaying can be traced back to the 1920s (Prideaux and McClymont 2006). In the decades since the first caravan took to the roads, a large infrastructure has emerged to service the caravan industry, including caravan parks, caravan manufacturers, attractions, and the retail and repair sectors. The latest statistics indicate that caravan park accommodation accounted for 14.8 per cent of total domestic visitor accommodation nights in 2005 (ABS 2006). Given the size of the industry and its visibility both in Australia and in other nations (van Heerden, this volume, Chapter 6), it is surprising that so little research has been undertaken into understanding this area of tourism activity, a point highlighted by Prideaux and McClymont (2006). The research in this chapter is aimed at adding to our understanding of the caravanning sector as a subset of drive tourism, with a specific focus on caravan parks as well as caravanners in Queensland, Australia.