Balancing act for caravan parks

Balancing act for caravan parks

Whiter’s Holiday Park is like many others accommodtion providers in Lakes Entrance that have been hit hard by the new COVID-19 outbreaks.

Their phones were running hot last Friday with cancellations and inquiries about rules.

“Once these things hit social media there is panic and people choose not to travel - we have had a 100 per cent downturn,” Brandon Smits said.

“We have decided not to accept bookings from the 10 hotspots that have been identified.

“It is hard, but we have to think of the health of our staff and the wider community.”

Brandon didn’t think the messages being sent out by the government were confusing, but did feel it is hard to keep up with all the rule changes.

“We send out notices to impending guests and then there will be another change and we are having to email them again,” he said.

“In the long run we want to do the right thing by the law, our business and our town.”

Kerry Adams, from North Arm Tourist Park, usually gets the older travellers so school holiday bookings aren’t too relevant.

“We are not getting many bookings at all, I think people are just too frightened to travel,” Kerry said.

There has not been much information forthcoming about what parks should be doing, Kerry said.

“Daniel Andrews seems to have been too vague in his directives,” she said.

“I think the people are just holding off to see what happens with the COVID-19 situation and also what the weather is doing.”

On a brighter note, Kerry said the phone is ringing for bookings later in the year.

“We are turning people away who want to book for the Christmas period,” she said.

“It is encouraging that they are planning to come at some stage. They are not letting events get in the way for later in the year and seem even more keen to come.

“I think we will be in for a good run when restrictions are lifted,” Kerry predicted.

The Lakes Entrance Recreation Reserve Camping Park does not get a lot of young families booking at this time of year, so the school holidays have no real effect on them either.

“Our park caters more for the grey nomads, who are fairly self-sufficient and keep to themselves,” park manager, Darren Martin, said.

“We really don’t get a lot of bookings this time of year and our bookings look about the same as this time last year.”

Darren feels people may want to come down this way as the record shows it is a safe place to travel.

“We can’t be turning people away if we want to be a tourist town,” he said.

“As long as we keep to the strict measures that are in place, then we should be okay.

“We keep on top of the cleaning, which is easier when you aren’t over run with people.”

IMAGE: Lakes Entrance Recreation Reserve’s Camping Park has welcomed many self-sufficient caravan owners amid the COVID-19 outbreak.