A new coalition will promote camping and recreational vehicle use throughout British Columbia as skyrocketing gas prices and declining U.S. tourist traffic cut into business.
The Vancouver Sun reported that the Camping and RVing British Columbia Coalition, which includes nine industry and government partners, will work with a $100,000-plus annual budget to boost business.
“We’ll look at the long term because there are going to be recessions and ups and downs in travel,” said coalition chair Joss Penny. “We want to collectively market camping and RVing in B.C. as the premier product in North America.”
He said campground occupancy throughout B.C. fell by more than 5% in June to 44%, with operators citing high gas prices and slumping U.S. travel to Canada as major factors.
The coalition has launched a new consumer website, www.campingrvbc.com, and will print promotional marketing materials and pursue travel media campaigns to generate publicity. Multilingual marketing campaigns will also be used.
“We want to encourage new immigrants to B.C. to experience camping and tenting and RVing because they’re really our next big group and a way to grow our future,” Penny said.
He said the coalition will focus on keeping more B.C. residents traveling within the province and on attracting more business from other provinces.
Tourism BC-approved private campgrounds generated an estimated $80 million in revenue in 2006 while RV rentals throughout B.C. accounted for more than $20 million in food purchases and other expenditures. Provincial park campgrounds generate more than $11 million annually.