Some 95 people representing 49 campgrounds attended the Florida Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (Florida ARVC) Campground Conference & Expo May 9-11 at the Clearwater Beach Marriott on Sand Key.
“We were a little below last year, but not by much,” said Bobby Cornwell, president and executive director. “The ARVC national convention is in Florida this year and we think some of our members had to decide to go to one or the other because of the time factor.”
Cornwell said the most pressing issue at the conference was whether owners should sell their campgrounds as condominiums. “It is becoming a hot topic in Florida,” Cornwell said. “A lot of parks are facing a decision: ‘Do I stay or do I sell or do I convert to condos.’
“If they go through the condo process, they can get more value out of the land than selling outright. Instead of selling 20 acres, they can sell 200 lots instead.”
Converting campgrounds to condos was among the six seminars at the conference, which also featured 37 expo exhibitors.
Cornwell said that without having hard statistics, Florida’s winter season was solid. “Everybody was pretty much booked out,” he said. ”Campground owners seem very happy, either because of the value of their land or because business has been good.”
An industry panel during the conference featured Mike Bullock from the Florida State Park system, who talked about ways that public and private campgrounds can work together; Bill Garpow, executive director of the Recreation Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA), who warned about the dangers of allowing a campground to accommodate too many permanent residents; and Lance Wilson, executive director of the Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA), who expressed concern about the number of Florida campgrounds being closed and sold for development.
John Parkhurst of Holiday Travel Resort, Leesburg, was elected as the association’s new chairman, and Bob Little of Vacation Inn Resort, Palm Beach, and Nita Shirley of Whisper Creek RV Resort, LaBelle, were re-elected secretary and treasurer, respectively.