TOURISM: Heritage City now reaping RV rewards
THOUSANDS of people who once bypassed the Fraser Coast are now spending big in the region, thanks to Maryborough's RV Friendly status.
The Heritage City became an RV Friendly town in 2017.
Two years later the benefits of the initiative are clear, according to Fraser Coast Tourism and Events general manager Martin Simons.
"Last season we had an amazing holiday season in terms of caravanners and RVs," he said.
"We were struggling to find homes for everybody at the peak of the season."
While there were fears caravan parks would suffer in the era of self-contained vehicles, Mr Simons said so far that wasn't the case.
"Most of the parks are doing very well," he said.
"We're putting a lot of effort into that sector."
Mr Simons said a holistic approach to tourism was still needed, describing the RV market as a major contributor rather than the answer to building the region's tourism market.
Tourism growth is strong, with a 30 per cent increase in visitors year-on-year.
One of the biggest areas of growth was the drive market, which mostly consisted of intra-state tourists.
Mr Simons said the number of visitors to the region's visitor centres was up by 15 per cent.
The biggest difference since attaining RV Friendly status could be word-of-mouth publicity, he said.
"If you don't have that status, the RV grapevine is very active," Mr Simons said.
While there has been a noticeable increase in RV visitors, Mr Simons said there was still work to be done.
Attracting RVs to Hervey Bay was a potential next step.
Nancy Bates, who campaigned strongly for Maryborough's RV Friendly status, said the tourism market was set to pick up in coming months.
Ms Bates said more parents were hitting the road with young children, having both a family holiday and an educational experience.
"There's lots of competition for who can roll out the best welcome mat," she said.