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'More keen than ever': expo to showcase best in camping as local industry continues to grow

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The director of one of the region’s biggest expos has revealed why he thinks the Sunshine Coast has such a love affair with camping, caravanning and four-wheel-driving.

It comes as the latest and greatest in all things adventure and outdoors will be on display this weekend at the annual Nambour Expo.

Running from April 12 to 14, the expo will have more than 1000 products on display from over 200 brands across camping, four-wheel-driving and boating.

Event director Bob Carroll said he had seen immense growth in the industry in the past decade, which has created a culture of camping-loving residents.

He said particularly in the years since the pandemic, more people had turned to exploring their own backyards.

“Through Covid we had a lot of people who all of a sudden couldn’t travel interstate or overseas so they started travelling locally and found some pretty interesting places,” Mr Carroll said.

“The feedback we got through our research showed 80 per cent of the people didn’t previously understand the attractions of their immediate area within a couple of hours’ drive from where they live.

“We know people are more keen now than ever to see what’s local and having a four-wheel-drive, caravan, camper trailer or motorhome means they can do that really easily.

“There is a lot you can do in short distances and I think that’s the big attraction for our region.”

The Nambour Expo will showcase the latest four-wheel-drive accessories, caravans, camper trailers and more.

Mr Carroll has been in the industry for 35 years and said changes in generational buyer habits were contributing to the industry’s consistent growth.

“Once upon a time, the older generation – or the grey nomads as they are affectionally called – would buy a caravan and hang onto it,” he said.

“What’s really helping this industry grow today is that younger generations, as their kids come along or grow, once their needs change, they have no qualms about (selling) that product and buying a new one to suit them.”

Mr Carroll said new technology and fit-outs with all the bells and whistles meant enthusiasts came back to the expo to upgrade or modify their setup year after year.

“Not only has the interest grown, but so has the variety of products,” he said.

“In the last couple of years, I’ve seen so much change.

“For example, batteries are getting smaller and more compact and faster to charge, and you can get solar panels that fold into the size of a briefcase.

“You can buy a tinny and put it on top of your four-wheel-drive or caravan, or there’s caravans with space for a quad bike on the back.

“All of a sudden you’ve got a caravan or campervan that has got everything you need, you become a bit like 007.

“You can travel anywhere and you’re not restricted.”

The Nambour Expo will be held at Nambour Showgrounds and will include educational wildlife shows, camp oven cooking demonstrations and on- and off-road safety presentations.

For tickets and details visit nambourexpo.com.au.

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