There won’t be a trade show at the first annual World Camping Convention, which is slated for Nov. 1-3 on the island of Barbados.
There will, however, be unique opportunities for RV rental companies, campground operators, reservation service providers and other tourism businesses to network in an effort to increase the flow of RV enthusiasts between Europe, Australia and North America.
“We’re providing them the opportunity to create alliances with one another,” said Ken Lahoda, president of Barbados-based Digital Rez International, which is hosting the conference.
And if their meetings prove to be successful, Lahoda said, they could significantly increase the levels of international RV tourism. “There are all these campers on the (European) mainland that would like to come to America,” Lahoda said, noting there are more than 300,000 RV families that could conceivably come to the U.S. if provided the right incentives.
Now is the perfect time to go after this market, he said, because the dollar is low and gasoline, while expensive by North American standards, is half the price that Europeans typically pay.
Lahoda added that networking and tourism promotion could be especially valuable for campgrounds that want to increase their shoulder season business.
“The ideal outcome from this conference,” he said, “would be for the parties involved to network with one another to create the potential for tens of thousands of bookings for everything from RV rentals to campgrounds.”
Lahoda said the idea of fostering RV tourism on a global level has never been attempted in a conference setting before. “We know we are going to have at least 110 attendees,” he said, adding that participants will include RV dealers and manufacturers, campgrounds, condo and cabin manufacturers, large campground membership groups, small campground chains, camping technology providers, real estate investors, credit card processing service providers and campground associations.
The first annual World Camping Conference, to be held at the Hilton Hotel Barbados, will be organized using discussion-based forums that encourage audience interaction. Discussions will be focused on cross-marketing, promoting fly-drives to other countries, and raising occupancy and facilitating international travel for camping enthusiasts now that the technology is available to make travel planning a seamless experience for renters and resort operators. Discussions will also address ways in which organizations through the industry could cooperate in technology development, member exchange and in the sharing of revenue gained from international camping travel.
Conference participants will include organizations from the U.S., Mexico, Canada, the UK, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
Speakers will include Linda Profaizer, president and CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), Mike Molino, president of the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), Robert Louden, director of operations of the Camping and Caravanning Club of the United Kingdom; Joe Daquino, vice president of Affinity Group Inc.¹s (AGI) multimedia group; Grant Miller, president of clubs for AGI; Kelly Hogan, CEO of NomadISP, a Boise, Idaho-based wireless Internet service provider; Trent Voigt, CEO of JetPay, a credit card processor for Expedia; Tony Park, CEO/founder of Cosy Cabins in Tasmania; and Mark Payne, CEO of Digital Rez Australia.
Registration and scheduling information is available online at www.worldcampingclub.com.