The Victorian Supershow is one of four Caravan Shows organised by Caravan Industry Victoria, featuring more than 215 exhibitors and spanning across 100,000 square metres of exhibition space. Daniel Sahlberg, CEO of Caravan Industry Victoria: “Off the back of huge demand, the question is where the industry will realign too. Our focus with our caravan shows and everything we do is to keep the caravan industry at the forefront of consumers’ minds with constant education and training on how to use the products. And with the global financial impact we are promoting that you can do more with a caravan or RV and it’s more affordable.”
This year’s theme was “Start Here, Go Anywhere”, which has been the main message for all marketing and promotions. New for this special anniversary edition were the RV Master Stage and Adventure Zone. The RV Master Stage welcomed over 30 live interactive sessions from caravanning and camping experts. For those who were not able to attend the show in person, these sessions were streamed live on the Caravan Industry Victoria Social Media channels. The Adventure Zone, located on the campground food court, hosted a large number of demonstrations on off-road driving, weight, towing and much more.
Celebrating over 70 years in manufacturing, Truma (part of Leisure-Tec Australia) was again the major partner for the 2023 Victorian Caravan, Camping & Touring Supershow. Supporting partners were AL-KO and BMPRO.
The first annual Victorian Caravan Show was held over three days in September and October of 1954, at the Wirth’s Circus site in Melbourne. The organisation, formed by leading caravan makers of Australia, got together to start promoting the caravan lifestyle and its products in Victoria. A newspaper article from 1954 to encourage people to visit the caravan show reads: “All caravans offer big advantages over tents and camping – in weather protection, comfort and convenience. Some of the luxe models may even be better equipped and more comfortable than your own home”. A total of 22 exhibitors showcased their products and over 10,000 people visited that first Caravan Show in 1954.
After that premiere in 1954, the Victorian Caravan Show moved locations a number of times. The Passport of Freedom competition has been a beloved tradition at caravan shows since its debut. Being the 70th anniversary edition, Caravan Industry Victoria went all out for the 2023 prize pack: the major prize this year was a $70,000 Jayco Starcraft Bush Pack caravan. In addition, 70 other prizes were included in the prize pack, increasing the total value to a historic high of $100,000.
Below: Nat Schiavello, Daniel Sahlberg and Stuart Lamont
The 2023 Victorian Caravan, Camping and Touring Supershow commenced with the official opening on Wednesday morning. A number of VIPs, exhibitors and key players from within the Australian Caravan Industry joined presenter and radio broadcaster David Mann for a morning of industry announcements, product launches and 70th anniversary celebrations. David Mann: “You are all in business, I won’t hide the fact it has been a difficult three years. But this industry has made a lot of people very happy, particularly in the mental health and wellbeing space. They got out, got fresh air with like-minded people and had a terrific time”.
First keynote speaker of the opening event was President of Caravan Industry Victoria Nat Schiavello. Nat took the opportunity to express his gratitude and support to everyone attending. Nat: “Collectively we create, operate and promote the best industry in Australia. […] I am proud to be part of this industry and to see the vast majority of our members and industry products continue to evolve”.
Chief Executive Officer of Caravan Industry Victoria Daniel Sahlberg took the stage for a number of announcements and industry updates, including the latest stats on Caravan manufacturing. Over the COVID-19 years, Victoria has seen a 35% industry growth and the state’s Caravan industry is now responsible for 93% of towable manufacturing in Australia. The Victorian RV industry is worth over AU$3 billion, providing jobs to over 10,000 direct employees. This number of jobs has doubled from 11 years ago when the industry was worth AU$1.1 billion. Daniel: “It is quite amazing; Victoria is the heartland of caravan manufacturing here in Australia. Caravan manufacturing came across from Adelaide in the 1930s and since the mid 2000s Victoria alone has 120 to 130 Recreational Vehicle manufacturers, mainly based north of Melbourne.”
Caravan Industry Victoria has 246 trade members, including manufacturers, suppliers, dealerships, retailers and service companies. On top of that there are a number of caravan parks and affiliates with a membership. During this year’s Supershow the association announced a number of member support initiatives, including a Weight Inspection Program, Membership Benefit Program and the roll out of the RV Master Manufacturers Accreditation Program.
Weight Inspection Program
Weight is a big issue for both cars and recreational vehicles in Australia as more and more accessories are being fitted in the aftermarket. For the last three years, Caravan Industry Victoria has been working closely with VIC Roads to gather data from manufacturers and dealerships regarding this issue. As part of the Caravan Industry Victoria’s strategy to better educate the industry and consumers, the Weight Inspection Program is designed to help consumers to understand weight with the goal to increase driver safety whilst travelling on the roads. During the inspection days, organised in conjunction with WIM Technologies, consumers can have the weight of their RV measured and corrected for free.
Membership Benefits Program
The Membership Benefits Program offers all Victorian members and their staff discounts to a range of mainstream items, including IT, flights, accommodation, fuel, shopping and entertainment. Signing up for this benefit program results in an average annual saving of $1400 per person.
RV Master Manufacturers Program
The RV Master Manufacturers Program, designed to raise industry standards, launched two years back and is now ready to be rolled out in Victoria. The program covers five key areas, being Business Systems, Quality, Human Resources, Regulatory Compliance and Customer Service. Like RVMAP, participants will be subject to annual audits to maintain their ‘RV Master’ status.
Stuart Lamont, CEO of Caravan Industry Association of Australia highlighted the importance of vehicle quality in Australia, as Australians love to explore parts of their country that are not as easily accessible. Areas you would not think of taking your car, Australian RV owners expect their caravan, camper trailer or motorhome to be able to go. Stuart: “We have some of the most stunning places in the world. Australians love to get out of the cities and travel terrain for which caravans and camper trailers probably aren’t traditionally used to. Caravans and camper trailers need to be built in such a way to accommodate that consumer demand”. For this reason, Caravan Industry Association of Australia (CIAA) has been at the forefront of lobbying and advocating for tougher laws around supplying caravans and camper trailers to the Australian market. On 1 July 2023, the Road Vehicle Standards Act 2018 (RVSA) will finally come into full effect after a transition period was extended a further 12 months leading into last year’s federal election.
Over COVID-19, Caravan Industry Association of Australia supported their members with a number of initiatives and campaigns, including Camp At Home Heroes and Travel Your Road. Now that Australians are allowed to travel again, the National Body continues to inspire people on a National level to explore the country in an RV. On a state level, Caravan Industry Association of Australia and Caravan Industry Victoria work closely together on a number of initiatives, including compliance merchandise, access to Australian standards and educational sessions. On top of that, Caravan Industry Victoria subsidised 50% of the registration fees for one employee per current financial business member who attended this year’s CIAA National Conference.
The next event organised by Caravan Industry Victoria is the 2023 Caravan Industry Victoria Trade Expo, held mid-July at the Hyatt Place Melbourne in Essendon Fields. This one-day Trade Exhibition is an Industry only event to network, do business and to see the latest products and services from suppliers and manufacturers. Several key speakers will discuss important topics within the Australian caravan industry, including compliance, RVSA and ACCC.
AboutCamp BtoB had the pleasure to explore 100,000 square metres of exhibition space during this year’s Victorian Caravan, Camping and Touring Supershow, meeting exhibitors and learning more about the Australian trends and market.