According to grey nomad expert Colin Balfour, every year the surge of caravans and motor homes travelling through Bruce Highway amounts to $1 billion.
In the interest of local businesses, the Gladstone Regional Council has decided to make Gladstone an ‘RV friendly’ town.
In an interview with Mayor Matt Burnett, although the town already had facilities and establishments the grey nomads are definitely looking for such as chemists, huge shopping centers, and picturesque scenery, most of the time it’s the little things that matter the most.
That being said, the council is proposing an amendment to their long term plan by allocating $25,000 to install new free waste dumping spots.
As of the moment, the council operates two caravan dumping spots located in 1770 and Calliope and a third on the way at Miriam Vale. However, in an effort to get the tourists off the highway and into the town, the council proposed installing two new dumping spots, possibly in Gladstone and another one in Mount Larcom.
According to Balfour Consulting’s Mr Balfour, the councils needed a more comprehensive approach to target travelers and mobile home owners.
“It’s all about maximising their length of stay and how much they spend and having a dump facility is an essential part of the modern RV experience,” he said.
“You need to look at it from a regional point of view because they’re not necessarily going to Gladstone or Tannum Sands, they’re travelling though, and so it’s about providing them with a stream of things that gets them into the region.
“They might only spend $100 a day in a place, so they don’t spend much, but if they keep coming then that adds up.”
According to Cr Burnett, the decision to install extra dumping facilities meant “we want them to come in off the highway” and spend the night in Gladstone.
“It’ll be just like the cruise ships…they’ll find they love it here and if it works for the cruise market I think it’ll work for the drive market,” he said.
“We know that might spend $15 on a burger but won’t want to pay $2 to dump their waste so this is just another way we can attract people into the town so they buy that burger and fuel up. “We want them to go to Baffle Creek, Agnes Water, 1770, Miriam Vale and all around…we want to be RV friendly.”
As Mr Balfour had said, it was the best move of the council to improve RV facilities because in the year 2020 he is expecting an additional 150,000 RV’s to be registered.