The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) intends to develop a public relations campaign to augment the industrywide Go RVing market expansion program promoting tent camping, park trailers and camping cabins.

“What we are hoping to do is use the program to fill in the blanks — the areas that our members perceive, correctly or not, that are not being promoted by Go RVing,” said Linda Profaizer, ARVC senior vice president and COO. “We want to inform the general public about all the options the private campground industry has in terms of accommodations. There are a lot of tenters out there, and camping cabins are a growing aspect of the business.”

ARVC intends to raise money for the three-year program by more aggressively promoting the voluntary $1 per campsite assessment that now is funneled into the Go RVing Coalition’s coffers, which are used to purchase media time and space on a national basis to promote the purchase and use of recreational vehicles.

Profaizer said ARVC is committed to contributing $100,000 annually to Go RVing, but money raised beyond that will go to the new public relations campaign and to bolster the ARVC Legal Defense Fund.

It is an ambitious goal. In the four years that money has been raised for Go RVing, ARVC has yet to meet its annual goal of $100,000. Last year, ARVC’s 3,700 members voluntarily contributed $96,000 to Go RVing, which ARVC’s board augmented with $4,000 from general dues.

Contributions to the defense fund, used to assist state ARVC affiliates and individual campgrounds who face legal challenges, amounted to “a couple of thousand dollars” in 1999, according to Profaizer.

The plan is to spend 75% of the money raised from the voluntary assessment on the new promotion program and 25% on the legal defense fund. How exactly the money will be spent will be decided by ARVC’s board of directors.

Profaizer said ARVC expects to raise more money because campground owners will see a direct benefit. “We don’t expect to raise much money initially,” she said. “In the third year, we hope it would be a couple of hundred thousand dollars.”

The goal is eventually to raise enough money to hire a public relations firm to promote campground camping in a way that does not compete with Go RVing.

“They will have their message going out and we will have our message going out,” she said. “We are not going after the same venues that they are.”