Despite a wet spring — including some severe flooding in different regions of the United States — officials at state campground owner associations say that the 2019 summer season was a great one for many park owners, with interest among campers at an all-time high.
RVB sister publication Woodall’s Campground Management reported that Paul Bambei, CEO and president of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), said it was safe to say that the 2019 season has been a good one for most park owners.
“We are hearing from our members that things started off slow due to a wet spring and early summer in many parts of the country, especially the east and north, which especially affected weekend campers who are more weather-driven,” he explained to WOODALLSCM.com (WCM). “But as the weather improved, the campground economy improved with it through mid-summer and on into Labor Day weekend.
“Of course, Hurricane Dorian in early September was especially hard on parts of the southeast, causing a forced evacuation in several coastal states, including camping strongholds like Myrtle Beach, S.C., where a five-day evacuation was imposed,” he added. “I’ve talked with several park owners in this region who said up until Dorian, they were up year over year, but now may be looking at breaking even.”
ARVC has sent out surveys to its members and hopes to offer more concrete information on how the industry fared through its 2019 Industry Trends and Insights Survey.
In Maryland, Deb Carter, executive director of the Maryland Association of Campgrounds, noted that member parks were packed this summer.
“This year we had a very hot, and much drier summer as compared to 2018,” she said. “We also saw our second year of the vast majority of schools starting after Labor Day. That gave us another full week of summer, not just for campers, but for staff as well, which was a big benefit economically.”
Milford, Ohio-based Leisure Systems Inc. (LSI), which franchises around 75 Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts throughout North America, has seen a number of its parks impacted by flooding, including one park in Oklahoma that was forced to close early for the season. Still, Trent Hershenson, vice president of marketing for LSI, said campers were eager to return to parks that were impacted by flooding and rain.
“Basically, as soon as the water went away people were asking to come back,” he explained.
Hershenson said that LSI is expecting its 11th straight year of growth in 2019, with their parks seeing sales up 12% over 2018 during the first six months of the year.
“That is a really big deal because last year was our biggest year ever across the network, so to see an increase from that is great,” he explained.
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