Less people travelling hits Australind caravan park hard

Ailish DelaneySouth Western Times
Australind Tourist Park long-term residents Leonie Walters and Leah Frances say the park is usually bustling with tourists this time of year.
Camera IconAustralind Tourist Park long-term residents Leonie Walters and Leah Frances say the park is usually bustling with tourists this time of year. Credit: Ailish Delaney/South Western Times

Coronavirus travel restrictions have turned what is usually a busy time of year for most South West caravan parks into a tourist ghost town for some.

Australind Tourist Park manager Marijke Freeman said the park had no tourists this Easter because of the restrictions.

“We can only take essential workers, long-term residents and short stay people travelling for work who have the necessary paperwork,” she said.

“It’s been very difficult because we still had people who said they wanted to stay with us for a week and travel within the regional travel boundaries but we decided it was safest for us to not take any tourists for the duration.

Our first priority is our staff and residents.

Marijke Freeman

Ms Freeman took over management of the park in March and said it had been tough with the pandemic.

“JobKeeper payments will make it a lot easier to keep workers going,” she said.

Ms Freeman said management had not let any staff members go and instead was absorbing the extra costs.

“We’re keeping all our staff on because they still have families to take care of,” she said.

We’re trying our best not to harm them and their families without putting ourselves out of business.

Marijke Freeman

Long-term resident Leonie Walters has lived in the park for more than three years and said Easter was always a busy time for the park, so it was unusual for it to be quiet.

“This is usually a busy, busy park this time of year and weekends,” she said. “We get a lot of regular visitors year after year.”

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