Bambei: Campgrounds Experience ‘Robust Energy’

August 10, 2017 by   - () Leave a Comment

Paul Bambei

Mother Nature is the only thing slowing down the camping season for many campgrounds in 2017 and that isn’t even doing much to stem the tide.

In an interview with, Paul Bambei, president of the Colorado-based National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds (ARVC), said that for the first half of the year campgrounds were seeing numbers that were an improvement over a robust 2016.

“Toward the middle of the summer, which I would call the third quarter, from July through the present, it slowed down a bit because of the weather,” he said. “Especially through the Midwest and the East coast, the pattern of weather has been kind of unreal in the way it forms by Tuesday and creates week-long periods where people see nothing but rain. And, of course, that dampens the reservations.”

Still, people are showing up in impressive numbers.

“I was just talking to our chairman from Myrtle Beach, Tim Deputy, who runs Myrtle Beach Travel Park, who said he’s had 10 straight days of rain down there,” said Bambei. “So naturally that’s going to affect the last-minute camper. But the people who have had reservations in place for months are showing up, and that’s what’s creating the robust energy.”

That sentiment is echoed by Beverly Gruber, executive director of the Pennsylvania Campground Owners Association (PCOA).

“It rains too much during the weekends,” she said. “Still, we have pretty happy people across the state. They are seeing business increase during the middle of the week, which is something new, and they are seeing plenty of new campers getting into the lifestyle; younger families and families with kids.”

In New York, high water levels at Lake Ontario have flooded into some campgrounds, while other parts of the state have been “deluged” by rain, according to Don Bennett, president and CEO of the Campground Owners of New York (CONY).

Nevertheless, Bennett said, campgrounds are staying busy.

“For most it has been a good summer,” he said. “There have been some affected by the weather, but the camper demand is strong.”

With the school year approaching for many kids around the country, Bambei said it is going to take more than a few rainy days to keep campers home.

“This time of year it’s typically families who are camping, people trying to jam in a vacation before school and Labor Day,” he said. “So, that is not going to slow down the person who really wants to be out there and that is what we are hearing.”


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