By Dyana Kelley, CalOHA President & CEO
The mission of the California Travel Parks Association (presently CalOHA) is now and has always been to support and serve its members as they provide a positive RV and camping experience to the consumer.
Our vision is rooted in our ability to enable California RV parks and campgrounds to be profitable, protected and a recognized segment of the travel industry.
While both are honorable statements neither the mission nor the vision address growth of our industry. Is it not also our responsibility to create a pathway for growth? During a recent conversation with the CalOHA board of directors the question of growth was discussed. I had been under the assumption that creating growth was part of our vision and yet it does not exist in black and white. The mere mention of growth was enough to cause some to bristle.
The past few years created an explosion of new campers but the RV park and campground industry failed to keep up. For many new to camping the “experience” was less than favorable. Recently, the Dyrt reported that more than 47% of California campers had difficulty finding available campsites to the extent that they elected other types of vacationing. Many who wished to continue camping sought after dispersed camping options.
At the International Sportsman’s Expo in Sacramento, CA (January 2023), we distributed nearly 4000 Camper’s Guides to California while simultaneously showing the ease of use in finding a perfect campground on Camp-California.com. However, many “campers” we spoke with echoed the sentiments of the Dyrt findings. Has the lack of growth started to create a deterrent for many potential campers? Are we headed for a generational gap?
Based on this information, the assumption could be made that by stifling growth we are no longer able to provide a positive “RV and camping experience to the consumer” and therefore, is it not the responsibility of CalOHA to look at opportunities for growth?
What are your thoughts on growth? What do you fear about it? What challenges do you see ahead?
If this has given you a pause for thought(s), please write them down and send them my way. I would appreciate hearing from the membership on this subject, bristly or not.
See you on the road.
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