Mildura has been named one of Australia’s newest RV Friendly Towns, paving the way for a wealth of opportunities to tap into the potentially lucrative 70,000-strong RV, caravan and camping market, says Mildura Rural City Council.
The RV Friendly Town program is a Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia (CMCA) initiative aimed at supporting regional and rural communities as the RV traveller makes their way across the country.
Mildura is the CMCA’s 366th RV Friendly Town to meet a set of guidelines and standard of services to support RV travellers.
These services include appropriate parking within the town centre with access to a general shopping area for groceries and fresh produce, and short-term low-cost overnight parking for self-contained RVs.
In addition to being more attractive to RV travellers, becoming an RV Friendly Town also means inclusion on the CMCA’s Club website, which is regularly visited by travellers looking for suitable locations.
Councillor Mark Eckel, who has long campaigned for the region to become an RV Friendly location, welcomed the announcement this week, just six months into Council’s five-year RV, Caravan and Camping strategy.
“I’ve long believed our region is the perfect destination to be an RV Friendly Town, not just due to our natural attractions and what our innovative local tourism operators have to offer, but due to our strategic location close to the borders of three states, on some of our country’s major road corridors,” he said.
“It’s also great timing as we see one of our region’s biggest caravan parks, the Apex River Beach Holiday Park, set to reopen in the wake of the recent river flooding.
“Some years ago, the CMCA annual general meeting was held in Robinvale following a winning bid by Euston Club General Manager Ray Jones, which was an Australia-wide accomplishment.
“That event has since been recognised and held up as an example by the CMCA as a model event to other AGM hopefuls.
“However, you can imagine my disappointment at the time when attendees bypassed Mildura, Ouyen and Red Cliffs, as although we had grey water dumps in the town, travellers didn’t know because we weren’t recognised as RV Friendly, nor were we included in the CMCA’s magazine.
“Our region consequently lost millions of dollars in economic benefit. This RV Friendly status is a game-changer for future tourism in this region.”
Councillor for Economic Development, Stefano de Pieri said the announcement would add yet another element to the region’s already strong ability to attract visitors.
“The RV sector is largely an untapped market for our municipality, and as we look to ramp up our economy again after the recent flooding, and COVID before that, it couldn’t have come at a better time,” Cr de Pieri said.
“According to the CMCA, about one in every 13 households in Australia owns an RV which, combined with consistent annual growth in this sector, represents millions of dollars in potential economic growth for our region in years to come.”
Apex River Beach Holiday Park owner, Colin Stewart said Mildura achieving RV Friendly Status would provide opportunities to better access the thriving RV market.
“The RV market is growing rapidly, and it will continue to grow,” Mr Stewart said.
“A lot of caravan parks have moved away from caravans and just gone to cabins, so to me there’s a great opportunity here.
“We consider ourselves a wholesale operator in terms of caravan park accommodation in our region, with 200 powered sites and about 160 unpowered sites on a prime location on the river, but still close to town.
“By joining the CMCA and Mildura achieving RV Friendly Status, it gives us a big leap into a market that’s still untapped, with 70,000 members Australia-wide.
“If we can access that market through our region’s RV Friendly Status, it provides opportunities to bring more people to Mildura and the surrounding region, which not only benefits our business, but the broader region.”
CMCA National Member Services Team Member, Ray Jones said it was encouraging to see more opportunities for the RV sector in Sunraysia.
“CMCA have encouraged Council to a part of this market for many years and it’s pleasing to see this coming to fruition. This will be a huge boost for the region, just catering for this growing tourism sector,” Mr Jones said.