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January is a peak time for families in recreational vehicles to escape colder parts of the country and to come to Texas for the winter season. Winter Texans, as they’re affectionately nicknamed, start arriving in October and sometimes stay through March.
The Kerrville Daily Times reported that the coming of the group of mostly Midwesterners means area businesses can continue to operate and flourish during the offseason of the city’s tourism cycle.
“It is significant,” said Sudie Burditt, executive director of the Kerrville Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We do not have the kind of traffic they have in the Rio Grande Valley, but the RV parks are quite healthy at this time.”
In 2004, there were more than 139,000 nights stayed by visitors to area campsites and RV parks, Burditt said. The calendar year information wasn’t available by month.
Don Temple, managing partner of the Guadalupe River RV Resort, said nearly all visitors are retired from states and provinces further north. He estimated about 500 families come each winter in RVs to Kerrville.
“Our numbers are really up,” Temple said. “Whatever they want to organize, we try to put it on the schedule.”
At Kerrville RV, Winter Texans make about 40% of RV purchases from December through March, said owner Ronnie Bock. The temporary residents also buy parts, take their RVs in to be serviced and store and trade-in their RVs.
“They’re a major part of our winter business,” said Bock, who has been in business for more than 17 years. “It has intensified over the years.”
Mark Armstrong, owner of the Lakehouse restaurant, said the Winter Texans are “wonderful customers.” Every year, he sees some of the same faces.
“It’s kind of a homecoming,” he said. “We’ve actually gotten to the point where we’re friends with a lot of them.”