The Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO) Friday (March 6) completed its collections of dues for the National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds (ARVC) with a total of 153 parks (out of 444 TACO member parks) choosing to renew with ARVC.

This reclassifies Texas as a direct membership state.

Many of the 153 paid parks took advantage of a 10% discount offered by the state, but in the end only 34% of the state’s membership joined ARVC, well short of the 60% requirement for ARVC Cooperative status, according to a TACO news release.

Paid ARVC members from Texas and New Mexico will continue to receive full ARVC benefits. The change in status for TACO from Affiliated to Direct membership began when the ARVC board in 2007 raised ARVC membership to TACO parks by 35% beginning in 2009. Rather than cut TACO benefits by 35% or automatically raising TACO dues to cover the increase, TACO decided to bill the ARVC dues separately from state membership, giving TACO members the choice of membership to ARVC in 2009.

Meanwhile, TACO pointed out in its release, it has provided increased member benefits. This includes upgraded website programs resulting in 14 straight months of state website growth year-over-year. In addition, TACO will be introducing a new accommodations site – www.TexasCabinRentals.net.

The state association has increased other member benefits including a more robust legislative program to deal with issues like trespassing and rules violations to utility tax rebates and maintaining a later school start date.

TACO has also duplicated several of the national association benefits including new alliances with music and video licensing agencies and direct contributions to the GoRVing campaign. The state’s printed directory and online versions will grow in 2010 with double park exposure and more general Texas content. All this is bolstered by a steady state-wide Public Relations campaign that is delivering more camper nights to TACO member parks.

In an effort to maintain an industry connection, the TACO board passed a motion – “To continue providing a dues billing service for the national association in 2010 and provide a 10% early bird payment discount, all at TACO expense, to those who join ARVC through their state organization.” This would provide an incentive for TACO members to maintain ARVC membership and it would be a significant costs savings to ARVC.

ARVC has also upgraded their member benefits in 2009 including an extensive PR campaign and a re-build of the GoCampingAmerica.com website.