The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association commissioned an Economic Impact Study on the RV industry, released on June 7, 2016. The study found that the RV industry contributes about $49.7 billion in economic output or 0.28 percent of the Gross Domestic Product. Through its production and distribution linkages, the industry impacts firms in 426 of the 440 sectors of the United States economy.
Nationwide, the industry is responsible for 216,170 jobs, both directly and inderectly, creating an economic impact of $37.5 billion. The full study results, along with each individual state and congressional district's economic impact is available on the website by clicking here .
Tue Jul 5, 2016
Even though Kansas doesn’t bring to mind many recreational vehicle vacations or exotic campgrounds, the state’s few dealers have experienced a long history of success and a roller coaster of ups and downs.
While the recent economic impact study commissioned by the RVIA says the state of Kansas has just more than 30 RV dealerships in the state, Hawleywood RV Ranch owner Bill Hawley says a good 33 percent of those have been around doing business for four decades or longer.
Hawley himself, at 72 years of age next week, opened his store in Dodge City in 1966. Over the last 50 years, he has seen several impressive additions to the RV market, new technology that has aided in the industry and a growing number of interested buyers who range in age from grandchildren status to even older than he.
“We’ve been around for a long time,” Hawley says. “We’ve got a lot of experienced dealers that have been around 40, 45, 50 years.”
Hawley now serves as the state delegate to the national RVDA, and keeps as much abreast of the state dealers as he can, knowing many of the dealers and owners personally over several decades.
A few of the other RV dealerships in the state who had set up their stakes in the ground four decades ago include Harper Camperland Inc. in Harper and Olathe Ford RV Center in Gardner, which have both been around since the 1970s.
But even in the Sunflower State, the booming RV industry can be felt as real as anywhere else in the country. For the longest time, the popular RV in the state was the fifth wheel. While those trailers are still selling out the door, Hawley says the travel trailer also has hit its stride.
“Kansas has a lot of RVs registered for sure,” he says. “In our population, it’s like 2.5 million for the state. That’s a lot of people, but as states go, that’s pretty small. In Kansas, fifth wheels usually sell just as much as travel trailers because everyone has a truck or want an excuse to buy one. But right now, there are more travel trailers listed.”
In the economic impact study, the state of Kansas was shown to provide an output of $177.4 million to the national economy, as well as 1,270 direct jobs from the industry.
When the economic recession hit in 2008-09, the damage done to the RV industry also was felt in Kansas. But Hawley says the resilience and business acumen of the Kansas industry professionals shone through and they have recovered to the point of great success today.
“(Being in business for 40 years) probably helped us,” he says. “We got through it by not eating, figuratively. We weren’t able to expand, but we made it through.”