Published in The Ararat Advocate, Ararat's weekly newspaper published by West Vic News Pty Ltd.
CARAVAN park owners have been pleased with bookings over the Christmas and New Year period as people regain confidence in travel.
Acacia Caravan Park and G’Day Parks Ararat both welcomed a positive number of guests to the region, as did Green Hill Lake on the edge of town.
Kaylene Linsley, owner of Acacia Caravan Park, said while there is still plenty of trepidation in the air with case numbers rising, their guests were keen to forget about the worries of the world.
“It was awesome, New Year’s Eve especially, to hear people enjoying themselves and having a good time. Most people were relaxed, they really were relaxed and tried not to think about the risks while being cautious,” she said.
“And we had a lot of people travelling and staying that have never camped or stayed in caravan parks before. So new people that are now experiencing something else.”
G’Day Parks Ararat owner, Samantha Rickinson, said their successful holiday period was a continuation of momentum building since lockdowns were lifted.
“What has given me the biggest boost is just talking to guests and hearing that people are ready to get on with life and get back to normal,” she said.
“We are seeing a lot of people stopping to go to the Grampians, people heading back over and coming from South Australia, and families coming to have a get together.”
Ms Rickinson said she is hopeful the worst is behind them but not expecting stability for another 12 to 24 months.
While the Green Hill Lake Committee reported a pleasing number of campers, committee president Gwenda Allgood said numbers were down.
“We're basically putting that down to maybe the weather and of course the COVID issue, but we still had a lot of people coming in and enjoying the lake,” she said.
“There's been fishing out there and they've been catching quite a few. We had a lot of canoes this year too. Of course, it's not deep enough for skiing at the moment but the kids have a lot of fun with the canoes.”
Caravan Park operators and the Green Hill Lake Committee said it was great to see tourists extending their economic injection across the wider community by shopping locally and enjoying what the region has to offer.
“We're just grateful, so grateful for people being willing to travel and coming to stay here and in Ararat,” Ms Linsley said.