Stronger Together: ARVC, Industry Partners Announce Advocacy Efforts During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Outdoor Recreation Industry groups join forces for an even stronger voice in Washington

A coalition of the RV park and campground industry’s leading organizations, led by the National Association of RV Parks and Campground’s (ARVC) Business Forum, announced today their collective efforts to advance advocacy in Washington for RV parks and campgrounds across the United States during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

As a unified voice, this coalition will be working together to counteract the effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had, and will continue to have, on our industry, 75% of which is comprised of independent, privately-owned small businesses.

This includes, but is not limited to, working directly with ARVC’s partner organization in Washington, the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR), to educate legislators of the value of the outdoor recreation industry as we advocate to be included in upcoming federal stimulus packages currently being discussed in Congress and by the Trump Administration.

The ORR, comprised of 32 member associations representing more than 100,000 businesses nationwide, promotes the growth of the outdoor recreation economy and outdoor recreation activities.

“The outdoor recreation industry, which includes RV parks and campgrounds and their supporting vendors, pumps more than $778 billion, equal to 2.2% of GDP, into our nation’s economy each year, so we are nothing to ignore,” says ARVC President and CEO Paul Bambei. “We have been working directly with various government agencies for the past week and our advocacy efforts are actively pushing legislators in Washington and the administration to remember the value our small businesses bring to the economy at all levels. It is our goal to tell the stories of all campground owners and how this pandemic is affecting business in order to make a difference in the lives of everyone in our industry.”

The coalition has also been working directly with various government agencies, such as the Small Business Administration (SBA), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the National Forest Service (NFS) and the National Park Service (NPS) to track the impacts of the pandemic, position our industry as essential to the growth of the US economy and provide guidance to members of our industry as developments arise.

“As the fight for inclusion in upcoming stimulus packages continues, our unified industry organizations will be aiming to prove the essential nature of campgrounds to the US small business economy,” Bambei says. “Campgrounds and industry vendors across the country are already stepping up to help the effort by supplying propane and housing in areas where quarantine has been mandated. We believe this show of support for the effort, along with the essential business RV parks and campgrounds provide local communities, is essential to the long-term success of our nation's economy.”

Along with ARVC and the ORR, many ARVC Business Forum members and industry partner organizations, some of which are the most prolific, multi-state operators in the industry, have joined this unified effort. Every organization involved is dedicated to making sure our industry is represented in Washington and the coalition is working diligently to advocate for the success of our industry through these uncertain times.

“At this unprecedented time, it is vital that all within the camping and RV industry work together to ensure that campgrounds are considered and included in any federal assistance programs that are created,” says Toby O’Rourke, president and CEO of Kampgrounds of America (KOA), an industry partner in this effort. “Camping, RVing and the outdoors in general will serve a critical role in the recovery of the nation from this pandemic. It is critical that we ensure that the small business owners of RV parks and campgrounds across the country are properly financially supported through this crisis. We’re confident that with collective action and unity, we can make this happen.” 

Industry partner RV Industry Association’s President Craig Kirby agrees.

“The future availability and viability of RV parks and campgrounds across the country is critical to the RV industry,” says Kirby. “Industry unity is essential as we manage these uncertain times, and the RV industry will continue to work alongside ARVC, RVDA, and the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable to protect RV parks and campgrounds through economic stimulus bills passed by Congress.”

President and COO of Leisure Systems, Inc. Rob Schutter sees our efforts today having lasting effects. 

"We, as leaders in the outdoor hospitality industry, must provide the needed support to RV park and campground entrepreneurs now to ensure that they will be there for the families who need them once this crisis has past," Schutter says.