RVIA Economic Impact Study

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 .

Web Exclusive: Texas Seeing Large Increase in 'Winter Texans'

Fri Dec 22, 2017
Author: Scott Hansen

With the onset of winter, along with several RV campgrounds damaged in the summer hurricanes, some RV campgrounds in Texas are seeing a large influx of winter travelers.

Oleander Acres Winter Texan RV Resort in Mission, Texas is one of the campgrounds that has seen a large increase in the number of Winter Texans, sometimes referred to as snowbirds.

Mission, Texas is in the southeast corner of the state, near Mexico and is a resort designed mainly for those coming down from northern states during the winter.

Oleander Acres Co-Owner Salome Welliver says the resort has seen an increase because of damage caused to other parks by Hurricane Harvey, which hit in the summer, as well as from Winter Texans looking for another resort.

“I would say that we have had an increase on top of that,” Welliver says. “I have quite a few of them retiring early and they spent their summer traveling around and decided to spend the winter down in the valley.”

Welliver says she has seen other states write editorials about how much they dislike winter travelers, but for her and her resort, they represent almost three-quarters of her business.

“For us, our business probably goes up 50 to 75 percent with having the Winter Texans here as opposed to just local travelers,” she says.

Age and health sometimes mean Winter Texans stop coming, as the majority are of retirement age, but Welliver says baby boomers and Generation X people are starting to fill the voids left by older people who can no longer travel as far or as often.

“For years and years, we’ve had such a strong group that’s come back,” Welliver says. “The World War II generation are aging out. That’s one of the biggest challenges we see, but we are seeing an increase in the baby boomer generation. They do have different interests than the WWII generation. As a business, we’re open to adapting, but it’s a little challenging to cater to both aspects without upsetting one of them.”

One of the benefits so far this year is the turnaround of the Canadian dollar. A couple of years ago, the Canadian dollar took a steep dive, which meant many Canadians decided to stay in the countryrather than come down for the winter, she says. However, the Canadian dollar has since righted itself for the most part.

Even though Welliver has seen a large increase so far, the busy months haven’t arrived yet. The busy months are generally January, February and March, and with the increase in Winter Texans as well as the travelers from other resorts closed because of hurricane damage, Welliver says she has had to make sure preparations are in order when those busy months hit.

“We just have to make sure that every site we have is open and available and up to snuff,” she says. “We’ve had some years where there’s been so many people, we’ve had to park people in a field where they’re dry docking.”

Welliver says she loves being able to provide a resort for the people wanting to get out of the cold and spend time in south Texas.

“I’m just really happy to be here and to be able to offer something that’s as fun and as affordable for our winter visitors that are at that age of retirement,” Welliver says. “I’m so interested in this business because it makes me feel happy to provide a place they can come down and be social and thrive and have a high quality of life.”