BE CLEAN: Traveller Don Miers and his companions agree a town should be tidy with clean toilets and friendly people.
BE CLEAN: Traveller Don Miers and his companions agree a town should be tidy with clean toilets and friendly people. Helen Spelitis

Caravanners mean big bucks for Gladstone region

CARAVAN drivers might be annoying to follow on the road, but they're worth big bucks to our tourism industry.

Next month the annual migration known as the Southern Winter Pilgrimage officially kicks off.

Thousands of visitors will flock to Queensland's central and northern districts to bask in the endless summer and spend their money.

>> More boating, camping, fishing and off-road news here

Visitors to the Southern Great Barrier Reef contribute $1 billion a year to our economy.

Retiree Don Miers has started early. He just set out on his first big adventure with his wife Bly and another couple.

They are staying at Tannum Sands after starting in New South Wales five days ago.

Already the travelling group knows what they want in a town.

"Having clean public amenities is definitely the most important," Mr Miers said.

"So is having parking designed especially for caravans next to those amenities.

"If we pulled up somewhere and the toilets were dirty, that would definitely discourage me from coming back."

GAPDL CEO Glenn Churchill said it was up to the community to welcome visitors, including on our roads.

"Mobile travellers are a major part of our tourism," he said.

"Business operators and residents should encourage them to stay longer."