Business-feature: Grey Nomads

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The caravan and motorhome scene is changing. Are grey nomads welcomed wherever they go or are they seen as a drain on the areas they visit?

Older people and others who are vulnerable generally do not feel safe camping in free camp areas with no security, given the spate of violence against 'soft targets'.

The website GoSee believes that older people travelling need access to secure caravan parks with clean amenities at a reasonable cost – without the bells and whistles.

Recreational vehicle owners want to use the dump point, fill up with water and charge electric equipment.

This is compounded when the RV's cooling and heating equipment makes high demands on the caravan park's electricity supply.

St Lawrence, a township 160 kilometres south of Mackay, experiences an influx of campers each winter, as southern travellers escape the winter in the southern regions.

“Those people over there probably use more water each night than what the whole town uses,” a town spokesperson said.

But other towns people disagree because they say that the grey nomads keep the town alive by shopping and spending their money there.

“Without these low or minimum cost stopping places the grey nomads cannot survive,” a club spokesperson said.

“Spending $40 per night or more in a private caravan park is not viable for the majority of grey nomads, who are on the Federal Government Age Pension,” he said.

“If a person or even a couple’s income was solely the aged pension, travelling long distances would be out of the question, because of the cost of fuel for a start.”

Australian states and territories are realising the economic worth of grey nomads, with some investing in dump points for grey and black water of increasingly popular self-contained vans.

They also realise that most young people prefer to go to Bali or other tropical islands.

“Grey nomads don't want the jumping castles and slippery dips,” the club spokesperson said. “For smaller towns, if you become recreational vehicle friendly then you're on the go-to list.”

Older people will vote with their wheels if their needs aren’t catered for and it’s not available at a budget price.

Be free: Older people travelling need access to secure caravan parks that have the clean amenities they require at a reasonable cost.

Be free: Older people travelling need access to secure caravan parks that have the clean amenities they require at a reasonable cost.