Where the bloody hell will they go - upward trends and downward spirals in Australian caravan park capacity?
Caldicott, RW & Scherrer, P 2013, 'Where the bloody hell will they go - upward trends and downward spirals in Australian caravan park capacity?', in N Carr & D Evans (eds), Challenging Leisure: Australia and New Zealand Association of Leisure Studies 10th Biennial Conference, Dunedin, New Zealand, 6-8 December. ISBN: 9780473203054
The caravan park sector of the Australian leisure accommodation industry currently provides almost 40% of total domestic bed capacity. Recent decades have seen a gradual decline in caravan park establishments and despite its continuing market dominance in terms of bed capacity, the industry today is only a mere shadow of its former glory days in the mid seventies. A current resurgence in caravanning, as a subset of drive tourism, has seen an increase in registrations of new campervans and motorhomes by over 19% in the last five years alone. This inverse relationship between downward‐trending park capacity and upward‐trending RV registrations raises significant capacity issues for the leisure accommodation industry. This paper reviews supply‐side elements of caravanning, an area largely overlooked to date in the demand‐side focussed literature. Using the theoretical framework of Butler’s (1980) Tourist Area Life Cycle (TALC), it examines how caravan parks have developed over the passage of time. Specifically, it highlights the influence the external caravan manufacturing sector and the park‐based site‐mix options have had in shaping that development. This paper will present the findings of a historical study of caravan park development in Northern New South Wales, Australia.