John Poimiroo, a 30-year tourism and campground industry marketing professional, offered a pragmatic view on the influx of Baby Boomers entering their prime RV-buying years during his keynote speech at the 31st annual meeting of the California Travel Parks Association (CTPA).
“While there are tremendous opportunities, this isn’t the kind of business that’s just going to grow without going after it,” he said during the Oct. 2-4 event at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno, Nev. “The RV industry cannot be complacent. It has to communicate why it is such a great experience.”
Poimiroo’s background includes holding top sales and marketing positions with Squaw Valley USA, Marriott’s Great America and the Yosemite Park & Curry Co. He also served as deputy secretary of tourism for California’s Trade and Commerce Agency. Currently he operates campground consulting firm Poimiroo & Partners, in addition to serving as travel editor for California magazine, a tourism publication distributed to travelers overseas.
Poimiroo noted that much of America’s current population growth is being fueled by immigrants who have no previous RVing or camping experience.
Moreover, he said, the RV industry needs to find out why declining numbers of Americans are visiting the national parks and hiking into America’s backcountry because these trends could ultimately affect the RV industry.
“Too many industries have become victims by not recognizing what is going on,” Poimiroo said.
But while there are warning signs facing the RV sector, there are also emerging opportunities, not only with America’s existing campers, but with new immigrants who are coming into the U.S. Poimiroo said it’s worthwhile for the RV sector to promote RV and camping trips to visitors from China and other overseas markets in Asia.
The tourism expert also shared also his insights about the challenges and opportunities facing the RV industry following his speech to more than 100 private park operators from California, Nevada, Oregon and Idaho who convened for CTPA’s annual convention and tradeshow.
The three-day event, one of the largest gatherings in CTPA’s history, included numerous first-time park owners as well as new vendors.
Max Gibbs, chairman of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), spoke to the group about the merits of ARVC’s certified park operator program, while Skip Daum of California Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (CalRVDA) provided an update on the association’s outreach efforts to lawmakers and to the media.
In other business, CTPA installed its officers for 2007, including President Paul Bostwick of Anaheim RV Resort; Vice President James Urquhart of The Intrepid Group, which manages several parks, including Flying Flags RV Resort and Campground in Buellton and Sands RV and Golf Resort in Desert Hot Springs; and Secretary/Treasurer Bill Milligan of Rancho Los Coches RV Park in Lakeside, Calif.
Several awards were also presented, including:
• The President’s Award, issued to Bob Ludwig and Maureen Quintal for their many years of service on the CTPA board.
• The Jan Bradley Vigilance Award, presented to Mike Fagan for his successful effort to force Imperial County Board of Supervisors to rescind an illegal transient occupancy tax.
• The Stan Martin Award, given to Mike and Sonja Nichols for their many years of service on the CTPA board.
CTPA’s next annual meeting will be Sept. 25-26, 2007, at the Red Lion Hanalei in San Diego, Calif.