By ERWIN CHLANDA
If travelers do not want to stay in a conventional caravan park, and have no alternative, do we lose their business?
This question is being posed by Kay Eade (pictured), Executive Officer of the Chamber of Commerce NT, in the wake of a national controversy over the closure of the Blatherskite Park to motorhome and caravan tourists.
At the moment the park is available for “event based camping” only, says its manager, Rob Merry.
Tourism Central Australia says the park is “currently uncompliant”.
It seems it is good enough for people attending an event to camp there, but not for individual travelers. Mr Merry was unable to cast light on this. We have requested a call from Kate Freestone, chairperson of the trust which manages the NT Government-owned park.
Meanwhile Ms Eade says it’s a matter of choice: “Some people who travel in motorhomes would prefer the unstructured sites as they do not have to share the park with families, and camp on small confined allotments.
“Because of the lack of services provided, I’d argue that they should be paying a lesser charge.
“I do appreciate the concerns from parks that they have more overheads to cover because they offer premium service, and charge higher prices, as you think they should.
“The various caravan parks around town do vary in price, again depending on the services provided. This also applies in accommodation houses, you pay for what you get.
“I travel quite often through regional Australia, and notice that the majority of small towns offer free sites in a designated area to ensure the town captures the tourist dollar.
“Towns that prohibit motorhomes camping in undesignated sites, appear empty of tourists walking the streets to buy supplies and visiting tourist attractions.
“Blatherskite Trust is in a precarious situation. It is a government-owned facility, and funds are given to the trust to operate and maintain the property on the government’s behalf. The funds allocated are insufficient to maintain this property, hence they are looking at ways to make the park sustainable.”