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Florida ARVC Positive on Camping Outlook

June 6, 2008 by   - () Leave a Comment

After welcoming the largest attendance for an annual convention in several years, Bobby Cornwell, president of the Florida/Alabama Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds, pronounced the association “strong and kicking.”
More than 100 people representing 54 Florida parks attended the association’s annual convention and expo June 1-4 at the Hilton on Clearwater Beach in Clearwater, Fla.
“In spite of everything,” Cornwell told Woodall’s Campground Management, “the mood was positive. Occupancy seems to be up, reservations seem to be higher. From what everybody told me, they’re even seeing an increase in business.”
Cornwell said some Florida RV park and resort owners are benefiting from higher fuel prices because “snowbirds” are taking advantage of parks’ “6-6” program and leaving their RVs behind on rental spaces in the off-season rather than driving them back up North. The program has been available for many years in Florida but more visitors are availing themselves of the service this year, he said.
And, he added, in-state RVers are staying in Florida, which also helps park revenue.
To spur attendance at this year’s convention, the association offered a special discounted “staff rate” on opening day (June 2) to attend five seminars and view the 29 vendor booths. He surmised that discount might have accounted for the larger attendance.
The association offered seven different seminars at this week’s convention. The topics and their presenters were:

  • Creative Ways to Increase Your Bottom Line, Robert Bouse, Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA);
  • Developing Pricing Strategies for Success, Bob MacKinnon, MacKinnon Campground Management;
  • The Eviction Process, David Eastman, attorney;
  • Guest Surveys, MacKinnon;
  • Go Green Tourism and Being A Green Park, Rene Welti, America Live;
  • Asset Accumulation and Retirement Plans for Campground Owners and Employees, Sal Bonetti, ACA Management;
  • CPR and Defibrillator Training and Certification, Barry Hartin, PSE Inc.
    Jim Tillman, the association’s lobbyist, reviewed key legislative matters affecting the state’s campground industry.
    Max Gibbs, former chairman of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), also spoke at the convention and reviewed the benefits of belonging to ARVC.
    Campground manager Tim Deputy moderated the cracker barrel session.
    During the annual business meeting, new officers, all from Florida, were elected to serve two-year terms. They are:

  • Chairman Lynda Phelps, Upriver Campground, North Fort Myers
  • Vice President Bob Little, Flamingo RV Resort, Jacksonville
  • Treasurer Pat O’Neill, Camping on the Gulf, Destin
  • Secretary Tim Deputy, Sun-N-Fun RV Resort, Sarasota
  • Immediate Past Chairman John Parkhurst, Holiday Travel Resort, Leesburg
    Also, at the annual meeting, the following persons completed their terms on the board of directors and were re-elected for a three-year term:

  • Don Hilgeman, Lake Waldena RV Resort, Silver Springs, Fla. (Northwest At-Large Rep.)
  • Frank Usina, North Beach Camp Resort, St. Augustine, Fla. (Northeast At-Large)
  • Dick Whalen, Dundedin RV Resort, Dunedin, Fla. (Central West)
  • Tim Deputy, Sun-N-Fun RV Resort, Sarasota, Fla. (Central West At-Large)
  • George Lemapenau, Peace River Campground, Arcadia, Fla. (Southwest At-Large)
  • Anne Stephens, Anchors Aweigh RV Resort, Foley, Ala. (Alabama Rep.)
    No date has been set for the 2009 convention but the association has resumed holding regional meetings during the year to help spur participation from its 430 members, Cornwell said. Two such meetings, including one in Alabama, have been held thus far.

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