Mood Upbeat at Mid-Atlantic Campground Conference
The mood was upbeat at the Mid-Atlantic Campground Conference, held March 6-7 at the Dover Downs Hotel in Dover, Del.
“I didn’t know exactly what to expect,” said Joann DelVescio, executive director of the New Jersey Campground Owners Association (NJCOA) and first-time organizer for the event. “I thought it went exceedingly well. The educational seminars were insightful, the trade show was sold out and we received many positive comments from the vendors.”
The event drew 83 people from 37 campgrounds, with the bulk of the attendees equally split between New Jersey and Maryland, two others hailing from Delaware and one each from Maine, Virginia and Connecticut.
The trade show attracted a record number of 43 vendors.
“Everyone is very positive about the upcoming season,” she said. Representatives from the travel and tourism departments of New Jersey, Maryland and Delaware spoke at the conference and provided ideas on partnerships the campground owners can take part in, she said.
“Our state representatives have all said at their shows they attend they’re hearing very positive feedback from people who will be vacationing this summer, and requests have been coming on strong for our New Jersey guidebook,” DelVescio added.
Jeff Sims, director of state relations and program advocacy for the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), got the event off to a good start on March 6 as the keynote speaker, DelVescio said. Seiminar topics included “Plan It Green," "Hot Topics for Insurance," What’s the Forecast for Tourism,” ”Facebook: Face the Facts or Face the Music” and Professional Tips for Taking Photos Worth a Thousand Words.”
During a closing banquet, members honored Jay and Marji Otto, retired co-directors of the NJCOA. The Ottos retired at the end of 2011 and have since moved to North Carolina.
Looking ahead, DelVescio said she would survey members and determine whether there is a better date for the Mid-Atlantic Conference, as it currently is sandwiched between other major campground events in the Northeast.