Porongurup campsite owner says free RV sites hurt local businesses
A tourist park operator is calling for an end to free campervan facilities offered by local councils.
Porongurup Range Tourist Park's Freddie Zitcher said RV-friendly sites in Mount Barker and Albany had hit his business hard.
"Since the status of being RV-friendly [in] Mount Barker, our RVs dropped to almost zero," he told Andrew Collins on ABC Great Southern.
"We had about 15 per cent of RVs before that and now they, of course, appreciate having a freebie somewhere, and so we lost business.
"It's not really fair on us... we can't compete with the council decisions."
The comments come in the lead-up to the 30th Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia (CMCA) rally to be held in Albany from Sunday.
Rally manager and former City of Albany councillor Vince Calleja said free sites for self-contained vehicles provided cash injections into local economies.
"What it does is it attracts people to the area," Mr Calleja said.
"To give you some idea, so far I have probably injected near on $40,000 into the community here: seven buses, 10 vehicles hires.
"We fuel all of them up and we feed 200 volunteers for lunch every day for two weeks.
"That food doesn't come for free, nor does the fuel."
Leigh via SMS: They get to taste everything we have to offer. If they like it, they will come back and spend more time and even more money in our region.
Juanita via talkback: We're paying $35 a night and all we really need is a piece of reasonably levelled, safe ground.
Mr Calleja said free sites were beneficial for private campervan operators by creating a reputation as an RV-friendly destination.
"One of the things that needs to happen is that the caravan parks need to put up signs to tell people where they are," he said.
The City of Albany anticipated the CMCA event would generate between $1.5 to $2.5 million for the local economy.
It was expected to attract 800 campervans and motorhomes from around Australia.
Mr Zitcher said national clubs had put unfair pressure on local councils to provide facilities through a large membership base.
The CMCA has more than 66,000 members.
"I think if they would do the right thing here in Australia, they would look for properties or land to buy and buy it for the club, and then they can do whatever they like," Mr Zitcher said.
Last year about 1.27 million visitors went caravanning or camping around the state, generating $868 million into the state's economy, including $756 million in regional Australia.