RVIA President Kirby: We Are Making A Difference

A photo of RVIA President Craig Kirby

RV Industry Association President Craig Kirby wrote another letter giving encouragement to industry leaders and RVIA members this week.

Kirby highlighted the RV industry’s coordinated efforts to help the country return to normal, and the positive outlook for the outdoor recreation industry.

“We will not stop working on the state and local level until all RV parks and campgrounds are permitted to open across the country,” Kirby wrote in his Friday, May 15 letter.

Read the full letter to RVIA members below:

Good Afternoon Members,

Increasing evidence shows that going outdoors provides significant benefits to an individual’s physical and mental well-being, including an overall reduction in stress. Sharing outdoor activities together strengthens our family bonds and is a great remedy for our reliance on digital gadgets, helping us all unplug. The state ordered shutdowns designed to halt the spread of COVID-19 have left us looking for ways to cope. It’s clear we all need a break and outdoor activity is increasingly becoming the choice for many.

Right from the outset, the focus of your industry association has been to ensure RV and related industry businesses were recognized as essential. Why? Because RVs inherently afford the ability to maintain social distance measures while providing controlled access to the outdoors. However, this task has not been easy. We were quite successful early on in the vast majority of states to have RV manufacturers designated as an “essential business.” RV dealers have also been viewed as essential businesses almost everywhere.

Campgrounds have been a different story. A patchwork of local, state, and national regulations and orders have created widespread confusion as campgrounds in some counties are open, while campgrounds in neighboring counties, may be closed. A one-size-fits-all approach to tackling these issues, has been all but impossible.

Thankfully, the RV industry works as a team unlike any other industry I have come across. Working with our partners, the National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds (ARVC) and Kampgrounds of America (KOA), we identified those states (and sometimes counties within those states) with stringent and prohibitive campground closure measures. We coordinated a plan, worked behind the scenes, and took direct action designed to influence decisions to reopen campgrounds. To date, over 85,000 letters have been sent to state government officials strongly urging that campgrounds be reopened and made accessible to RVers as long as all appropriate safety guidelines are followed and there is no threat to the health and safety of visitors, employees and natural resources. Additionally, in a number of states, we have worked with the RV Dealer Association (RVDA) and their state delegates, as well as independent state RV trade associations to conduct direct conversations with government officials.

The result has been an impressive display of grassroots activism and unified support for campgrounds across the industry. And we are making a difference. With RV manufacturing ramping up over the past two weeks and great news on retail sales from dealers across the country, it is more important than ever for our customers to be able to take their RV to a campground and realize that outdoor recreation dream that has been on hold.

We will not stop working on the state and local level until all RV parks and campgrounds are permitted to open across the country.

Recent consumer research is showing Americans will be seeking shorter, more local trips, to get outside while limiting exposure to the virus. While the industry stepped up in various ways to aid in the fight of the virus, we should also feel good about how RVs can provide that needed stress-relief for people to enjoy the great outdoors. As we emerge from stay-at-home orders, I can’t think of a better way to follow health and safety guidelines while experiencing the outdoor lifestyle that we all know and love, than in an RV. The RV industry is truly offering a vehicle to lift America’s spirits.


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