A series of plenary sessions and workshops at the 2nd World RV Conference in Tampa, Fla., served as a centerpiece for the Jan. 17-20 event, offering attendees insight into RV markets and issues around the globe.
According to the host Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), the six presentations provided key market statistics and trends; reviewed popular RV products; and examined the future prospects and challenges for each world market. The reports included:
• “Europe” presented by Stephane Cordeille, CEO of Thetford Corp.
• “Japan” presented by Keiki INOMATA, a director with the Japan RV Association (JRVA) and executive managing director of Neat RV Co.
• “Australia” presented by Stuart Lamont, CEO of the Caravan, RV and Accommodation Industry of Australia (CRVA).
• “China” presented by Ye Shengji, deputy secretary general of the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM).
• “South Africa” presented by Keith Laing, managing director of Jurgens Ci and a member of the Leisure Industry Manufacturers Association (LIMA).
• “North America” presented by Richard Coon, president of RVIA.
“The world is getting smaller, and it’s important that we understand not only what is going on in our own market but also what’s happening in other markets,” said Lamont. “What happens in Europe or the United States may happen in Australia, and vice versa. That is why it is critical for us to communicate and share information.”
Cordeille added that while RV markets have inherent differences based on their location, there are fundamental basics contributing to RVing’s global appeal. “RVing gives people freedom and gets them back into nature,” he said. “Our business…our way of vacationing and traveling is a great way of linking family generations together. That is the true value of our product,”
The 2nd World RV Conference also featured a series of concurrent workshops on Jan. 18 that focused on various industry-related topics. The sessions included:
• The “World Product Standards Workshop” moderated by RVIA Vice President of Standards and Education Bruce Hopkins with a panel composed of Ron Chapman, chief executive officer of Caravanning Queensland in Australia; Jost Kruger, technical director of the Caravaning Industrie Verband (CIVD) in Frankfurt, Germany; Keith Lang, managing director of Jurgens Ci and representative of South Africa’s Leisure Industry Manufacturers Association (LIMA); and Kent Perkins, senior director of standards at RVIA.
• The “Advertising and Promotion Workshop” presented by James Ashurst, RVIA’s vice president of public relations and advertising.
• The “World Campground Standards” session moderated by Kathy Palmieri, owner/operator of the Yogi Bear Jellystone Park in Estes, Colo., with a panel of campground experts that included Ian Beadel, an owner/operator of an award-winning campground in Australia; Nick Lomas, director general of The Caravan Club in England; and Jeff Sims, director of state relations and program advocacy at the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds.
• The “RV/Caravan Rental Business Workshop” presented by Joe Laing, director of market and business development for El Monte RV.
• The “RV/Caravan CEO-Chairman Panel Discussion” featuring a rotating panel of association leaders from across the world, including Richard Coon, RVIA president; Tim DeWitt, executive director of the Michigan Manufactured Housing, RV and Campground Association; Klaus Foertsch, managing director, Caravan GmbH in Germany; Eleonore Hamm, president of RVDA of Canada; Jeff Hirsch, chairman of RVDA; Phil Ingrassia, president of RVDA; John Lally, director general of the National Caravan Council in England; and Lamont. The panel was moderated by Matt Wald, park trailer executive director for RVIA.
• The “Newest Emerging RV/Caravan Markets Workshop” was moderated by Craig Kirby, vice president of international business and general counsel at RVIA, and featured panelists Marcius Pinto Matheus, co-owner of Motor Trailer do Brazil, and Gregory Tempkin, president of Russian Standard.
RVIA reported that the conference drew 216 RV industry leaders from 16 countries to the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel. It was announced that Australia will host the 3rd World RV Conference in 2015.