Report: RVing Activity Grew as Outdoor Economy Dipped

A picture of an RV traveler relaxing outside

The Bureau of Economic Analysis found the outdoor recreation economy’s impact dipped 12.7% in 2020 to $688 billion in economic output.

Bucking the trend, RVing’s economic impact grew 2.7% to $19.1 billion. RVing remained the second-largest conventional outdoor activity. Boating/fishing is the largest activity at $30.8 billion.

“2020 was a challenging year for everyone, and the outdoor recreation industry was no exception,” said RVIA Vice President of Government Affairs Jay Landers. “Even with the incredible number of people turning to RVs and outdoor recreation in 2020, it was impossible to overcome the economic losses resulting from the entire U.S. economy coming to a screeching halt in the spring of 2020, including closed campgrounds and suspended operations at RV dealerships and RV manufacturing plants. The good news is that nearly 20% more RVs will be built in 2021 than in any prior year and the streak is expected to continue into 2022. This bodes well for the future of not only the RV industry but the wider outdoor recreation economy as a whole.”

The largest RVing economic state contributors were Indiana at $3.4 billion and Texas at $1.7 billion.

Overall, the report found the outdoor recreation industry creates 4.3 million jobs, comprising 3% of U.S. employees. Its overall economic impact in 2020 was $688 billion, down from $788 billion in 2019.

“Today’s release shows how the outdoor industry, despite the impact of widespread public lands and business closures, suspended trips and travel, gathering restrictions, supply chain issues and more, continued to support communities across the country during the pandemic,” the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable stated.

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