Families are heading to the great outdoors these holidays, figures show

Camp out: Residents from St George and Sutherland Shire are among those packing up the car and heading to camping grounds and holiday parks these school holidays. Picture: Supplied
Camp out: Residents from St George and Sutherland Shire are among those packing up the car and heading to camping grounds and holiday parks these school holidays. Picture: Supplied

Families have embraced camping these school holidays, new figures show.

Tourism operators and regional areas are expected to benefit from the move away from lavish overseas holidays caused by travel restrictions as families choose to instead visit camping grounds and holiday parks closer to home.

Caravan parks across the country reported a rise in occupancy rates for the week beginning June 29, with cabin occupancy reaching 51 per cent while powered sites were at 36 per cent capacity, up from 16 per cent and 9 per cent.

Camping is seen as a relatively COVID-safe form of tourism thanks to the ability to be relatively self-sufficient and remain close to home.

But both businesses and holidaymakers are being urged to remain safe and responsible, and check caravan parks have COVID plans in place regarding check-in, shared facilities and cleaning.

"Camping has always been a popular but social distancing, no overseas travel and the safety provided by a camping holiday is proving a winner also with those new to camping," Caravan Industry Association of Australia general manager marketing & communications Keelan Howard said.

"We are seeing interest from people who normally may choose an overseas or alternative style of holiday, which is fantastic."

Camping also has other benefits in the current climate, allowing people to take a much-needed break in nature and reconnect with loved ones.

Mr Howard said that while the figures were promising, there was a long way to go to address the difficulties faced by tourism operators this year.

However, he said the gradual restoration of confidence among regular camping and caravan travellers, plus new ones, would be beneficial to the tourism industry.

"This speaks to the important role that caravan and camping has in the recovery of regional communities as we find a way to operate in the new normal," he said.

This story Camping on the rise first appeared on St George & Sutherland Shire Leader.