Florida RV SuperShow, Others Attract Record Attendance
The 2014 Florida RV SuperShow, which took place January 14 through 19, 2014, at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa, welcomed a record-setting 56,953 attendees to see 1 million square feet of RV and vendor display space. According to Lance Wilson, executive director of the Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA), which hosts the annual six-day event, 1,100 RVs from 105 dealers were on display.
“The five great days of weather and a pent-up demand added up to a great show for everyone,” said David Kelly, FRTVA marketing director. Of the 365 acres at the Florida State Fairgrounds, 150 acres were dedicated to the displays, and the remaining area was used for parking and rally space. Indoor supplier space was sold out.
Of particular interest to show-goers in Tampa were the conversion and high-end coach displays. For 2014, Prevost hosted five conversion companies in a display that included finished coaches and bus shells ready for conversion. Sales in this space were brisk, with most of the coaches sold either before or during the show. Price tags for coaches in the display were as high as $2.6 million.
Vendors included a range of RV parts and accessories companies, food sellers of various kinds, campground representatives, and, of course, many motorhome manufacturer reps and dealers. Display motorhome chassis from Freightliner, Spartan, and Mercedes-Benz were on hand, with chassis representatives available to answer questions.
Besides the Florida RV SuperShow, the FRVTA sponsors regional shows throughout the state. More information about these shows can be found at www.frvta.org.
RV shows in other cities have seen an increase in attendance as well. The Chicago Boat, Sports & RV Show, which ran from January 16-20, 2014, attracted 37,817 visitors, an 8 percent increase from 2013 attendance numbers. The New England RV Dealers Association (NERVDA) reported that the Boston RV & Camping Expo, which was presented January 18-20, drew large, enthusiastic crowds. “This is an excellent sign that the Go RVing campaign and the show promotions are reaching a new audience and new prospects that will soon be making major decisions on what type of RV to purchase,” said Steve Flagg, NERVDA treasurer.
RV/MH Hall Of Fame Announces Class Of 2014 Inductees
The board of directors of the RV/MH Heritage Foundation announced the names of those who will be inducted into the RV/MH Hall of Fame in August as the Class of 2014.
Foundation president Darryl Searer said, “Congratulations to the ten new honorees. All of them have had or are having outstanding careers and are richly deserving of this special moment.”
Inductees from the RV industry are as follows: Debbie Brunoforte, president, owner, and CEO of Little Dealer, Little Prices RV dealership; Bob Livingston, senior vice president, group publisher, Good Sam; Peter B. Orthwein, chairman, Thor Industries; John D. Roba, founder and president of Roba and Associates and JR Products; and James F. Shields, president of Pan Pacific RV Centers Inc. RV dealership. This group will be joined by five inductees from the manufactured housing industry.
The induction ceremonies will be held at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Indiana, during the annual induction dinner on Monday, August 4, 2014.
Those who wish to nominate future candidates for the Hall of Fame may visit www.rvmhhalloffame.org/pages/nominations.cfm to view the Nomination Guidelines and to download the necessary nomination forms.
RVing Accessibility Group Offers New Service
The RVing Accessibility Group (RVAG), which provides resource information to all people with disabilities who are interested in and capable of enjoying recreational travel, now will provide assistance for campgrounds to help improve accessibility through assessment and consulting services.
RVAG founder and chairman Mark Douglass, who is a disabled 20-year RV enthusiast, began the organization because of the many negative experiences he and other disabled RVers had making reservations with and staying at campgrounds that claimed to be ADA accessible and compliant, only to find out upon arrival that they were not.
For Mr. Douglass and his wife, Ellie, providing other disabled RV enthusiasts with accurate information about campground accessibility became paramount after his wheelchair became stuck in the mud at a compliant, but unpaved, campground.
RVAG initially was designed to educate and inform disabled travelers with firsthand assessments of campgrounds across the country found to be ADA compliant and truly accessible to guests. In 2012, the group was asked to help educate campground and park owners about accessibility. RVAG’s scope expanded to include working with campground and park owners and camping organizations on meeting accessibility standards relative to the Americans with Disabilities Act, the 1968 Architectural Barriers Act, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
For more information about RVAG, visit www.rvingaccessibility.org or call (970) 903-7442.
Planning Under Way For Great Outdoors Month 2014
Recreation community leaders have begun planning for Great Outdoors Month 2014, which is scheduled to begin on Memorial Day weekend, May 24-26, and run through Independence Day on July 4.
Great Outdoors Month activities will include events such as National Trails Day; National Fishing and Boating Week; National GO (Get Outdoors) Day; Welcome to the Water on National Marina Day; and the Great American Backyard Campout. Great Outdoors Month is made official through proclamations issued by the U.S. President and all 50 state governors. The proclamations highlight the value of recreation to conservation causes; foster appreciation of American values; and raise awareness of the economic importance of the more than $650 billion in annual spending in communities across the United States. They also help to demonstrate the role recreation plays in boosting physical and mental health, and the value of the Great Outdoors to U.S. efforts to attract international tourists.
Great Outdoors Month cochairs Gregory Miller of the American Hiking Society, Kevin Coyle of the National Wildlife Federation, and Derrick Crandall of the American Recreation Coalition convened the first coordination session on January 9, 2014. During the meeting, Great Outdoors Month leaders discussed new partnership opportunities with The Coleman Company, SC Johnson’s OFF, and national youth organizations. The agenda also covered plans for new activities at the state level, including Capital Camp-Outs; VIP tours of state and national recreation sites; and initiatives to attract families with young children and Americans living in urban areas to public lands and waters in cooperation with libraries, social service agencies, and more.
Winnebago Announces Lake Mills Expansion
Winnebago Industries Inc., based in Forest City, Iowa, has announced plans to expand its manufacturing footprint to nearby Lake Mills, Iowa.
Winnebago and the city of Lake Mills came to an agreement on a five-year lease of a 100,000-square-foot plant formerly owned and operated by Cummins Filtration. The Lake Mills facility will be used for the production of Winnebago’s Type B motorhomes; initially the new Travato model built on the Ram ProMaster chassis.
“This is a definite win-win for us,” said Winnebago chairman, CEO, and president Randy Potts. “The Lake Mills facility is much larger than our current Type B production facility in Charles City [Iowa] and allows us to expand our growing Type B motorhome line.”
The close proximity of Lake Mills to the Forest City headquarters will reduce costs of transporting components and motorhomes. It also will allow the company to transition its current Type B production facility in Charles City to additional subassembly operations, according to Mr. Potts.
Staff hiring and training for the Lake Mills assembly plant took place in January, and production of the first Travato motorhomes was expected to begin in early February.
For more information about the new Travato motorhome or other Winnebago Industries products, visit www.winnebagoind.com or call (641) 585-3535.