The Eyre Peninsula town of Kimba is closing in on two tourism awards

Kimba is now officially one of Australia's best grey-nomad spots.

Two Kimba offerings have been named as finalists in the national 2019 Grey Nomad Awards, helping cement the town's reputation as a "bucket-list" destination for mature-age tourists.

The Kimba Recreation Reserve has been shortlisted in the Best Grey Nomad Council Free-stay Campsite category while the Kimba Community Development Group's Grey Nomads Volunteer Program isa finalist for the Best Grey Nomad Volunteer Program or Project.

The Kimba Recreational Reserve offers free non-powered camping with access to toilets, coin-operated showers, water and bins and is pet-friendly.

It is spaciously laid out, easily accessible with entryways designed for any vehicle height and has such amenities as a dumping point and free Wi-Fi.

Owned and operated by the Kimba District Council, the campground is next to the Roora Reserve Walking Trail with its metal sculptures of native animals leading to Whites Knob Lookout.

Council chief executive officer Deb Larwood said the venture had been a huge success with many travellers using the free campground.

"The council wants to attract visitors and provide amenities that encourage them to extend their stays and support the prosperity of our community,".she said

The Kimba Community Development Group's Grey Nomads Volunteer Programprovides access to free powered camping sites at the Kimba Recreation Reservefor a week in return for two days' volunteer work.

In the past year, volunteers have restored Historical Museum equipment, entered historical data, re-oiled street furniture and helped refurbish the Kimba Agricultural Show Society pavilion.

Heather Baldock, one of the program co-ordinators, said the program is relied on local volunteers who "meet and greet" the visiting grey-nomad volunteers, take them through paperwork, introduce them to the people they will be working alongside and follow up to ensure they are enjoying their stay.

"As well as sharing their skills, knowledge, and time, the visiting volunteers get to know the community, are included in social activities, and many stay much longer than first intended," she said.

"Great friendships are often formed and some visiting volunteers have returned several times."

Awards director Kim Morgan said the contest expanded the appeal of country Australia, encouraging mature-age travel while supporting positive aging through soft adventure and social inclusion.

"The awards are fostering a happier, healthier lifestyle for over-55s by providing verified information that will guide grey nomads' decisions on where to travel and what to experience," she said.

"Tourism is pivotal to many regional economies with 46 percent of Australian tourism spending being in regional areas.

"This money supports local businesses and organisations and generates employment."

The awards are judged by mature-age tourism professionals, some of who have experienced the grey- nomad lifestyle, adding weight to the finalist success of the two initiatives.

The judges congratulated the council and community development group on catering so well to grey nomad visitors, saying: "These are both terrific community initiatives and we love how they work together to bolster the benefit to the town.

"Through the recreation reserve and the volunteer program, Kimba is supporting people over 55 to enjoy the many facets of this region in a safe, welcoming and comfortable environment.

"The initiatives are making a valuable tourism contribution beyond what is initially recognised.".

Grey nomads are a huge, still-largely-untapped segment that represents one of the biggest opportunities in domestic tourism.

This age group has 32 per cent of Australia's disposable income and loves learning about the country. Importantly, they are fiercely loyal. Once they discover something they like, they will return.

The awards dinner will be on the Sunshine Coast on November 6 after The Art of Attractiontourism summit - the first national event to explore two fast-growing 21st century tourism segments, senior travel and arts tourism.

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