The American Recreation Coalition (ARC) on June 4 welcomed Jon Jarvis, director of the National Park Service, as its special guest speaker at the Great Outdoors Week Recreation Exchange, hosted jointly by ARC and the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA).
While complimenting the readiness of new Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, Jarvis’s remarks covered a number of key topics, including the challenges currently facing the National Park Service (NPS), the agency’s upcoming 2016 Centennial and new agency initiatives, according to a press release.
As it prepares for its second century, the National Park Service is encountering a number of significant challenges, from essentially flat visitation to aging infrastructure, and Jarvis commented that the lack of cultural and ethnic diversity among visitors and the irrelevance of the parks to too many young people were even greater concerns than the lack of growth in visitation. “We’ve got to connect to all Americans,” he said, describing the lack of diversity and youth as “a recipe for decline.”
Another challenge cited by the director is funding. He described both the current economic situation and the federal budgetary process as “tough,” explaining that the Park Service is faced with the difficult task of managing “a perpetuity mission on an annual appropriation.”
Directly related to the funding issue is the agency’s $11 billion infrastructure-maintenance backlog, half of which involves roads. Other challenges include the wide-ranging impacts of climate change, Americans’ lack of interest in history and the need to enhance technical connectivity – seen as absolutely essential by young people – in the national parks.
Despite this daunting list, Jarvis remains optimistic. “They’re all fixable with some work,” said Jarvis, who described the Centennial — to be celebrated on August 25, 2016 — as an opportunity not only to celebrate but also to prepare for a second century of stewardship and public engagement by laying out specific actions to meet specific goals. Four goals that will be the focus of Centennial preparations entail connecting people to parks, advancing the agency’s educational role, preserving special places and enhancing organizational excellence.
Jarvis feels that connecting people to parks begins in neighborhoods, noting that agency outreach programming needs “to go to where the people are.”
As examples of the Park Service’s educational mission, he cited the lessons that can be learned by visiting Gettysburg or Vicksburg rather than just reading about them.
Meanwhile, Jarvis reminded the group that the first director of the National Park Service, Stephen Mather, was a marketing expert from the private sector who had successfully sold the national parks – “in the middle of nowhere” – to both the U.S. Congress and American people by partnering with the tourism industry, represented in those days by the railroads with the National Geographic Society and with the artistic community to attract people to these special places.
Today, in contrast, while the agency’s Organic Act tasks the NPS with both the regulation and promotion of the national parks, the regulatory side has been dominant.
Yet, he characterized the job done on the promotional side as “not so hot,” although, he says, the situation is changing. For one thing, Grey Advertising has been hired by the National Park Foundation to develop an over-arching campaign strategy for the national parks in conjunction with the Centennial. Utilizing this effort to build awareness of the National Park System will take a real marketing strategy, he stated, likening it to the RV industry’s Go RVing campaign, and will involve the use of well known figures from sports and Hollywood, as well as iconic events like the Tournament of Roses Parade and halftime at the Super Bowl. A successful campaign will also mean increased visitation and the development of a constituency for parks – as both stewards and philanthropists – among the next generation.
The agency, in turn, is also looking at new models for financing its operations, he reported, and is carefully evaluating the many different ideas for sustainable supplemental funding introduced recently during a gathering at the Bipartisan Policy Center. And he praised the innovative ideas that are coming from urban parks, involving community engagement, new partnerships, and the restoration of both lands and waters. Linking outdoor experiences with improved health offers another avenue for increasing interest in and support for the outdoors.
In fact, the medical community should be prescribing the outdoors, Jarvis asserted, telling people to “Go RVing, go fishing . . . take a hike and call me in the morning.”
He noted that the National Park Service would be co-sponsoring a conference with the Centers for Disease Control in 2014 on “Healthy Parks, Healthy People” – in partnership with national park concessioners – through which healthy food will be introduced into the park experience. And Jarvis invited the audience to join him on the national mall the following day for a special event featuring healthy food.
Jarvis said land-management agencies were working together to improve connectivity and access to public lands and have become involved in initiatives recognizing the contributions of various ethnic groups and appealing to children as well, including a new partnership with Sesame Street. He also reported that a new study on the economic impact of national parks was being undertaken and should be ready by 2016.
He concluded his remarks by describing the national parks as a great – and distinctively American – concept to establish places where all the people can enjoy the outdoors. “We are looking to use every one of our tools in our toolbox and every one of our partners . . . and every one of the land management agencies . . . to really re-engage the American public in this extraordinary asset,” he said.
Asked afterward during a question-and-answer period about the impact of the sequestration process, Jarvis described actions that had been taken to absorb the mandated 5% reduction in funding. Among them are delayed openings, facility closures, reduced hours and programs, more deferred maintenance, a hiring freeze, a decrease in seasonal employees and furloughs of park police. “I think we will muddle through this summer,” he said. “We didn’t close any parks.”
But he did express concern about the impact of additional funding cuts. All across the country, he asserted, parks are economic engines for the areas that surround them, meaning that park closures would impact far more than the parks themselves.
So, what’s his message to Congress?
“What we do is not a cost,” he said. “It’s an investment. It has enormous return.”
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) team of inspectors met with staff from the association’s Standards and Education department from May 7-9 at RVIA headquarters in Reston, Va. The meetings are held regularly to help maintain and improve the consistency in the standards inspection process. The primary focus at this session was to review the recent enforcement positions published in the RV Handbook, and also to continue the effort to become better educated on all the ANSI A119.5 Recreational Park Trailer Standard (2009 edition) requirements. The inspectors also submitted technical issues that they have discovered during their inspections which resulted in the drafting of several handbook updates and code change proposals for RVIA Technical Subcommittee review this October. During the meeting, the group also reviewed upcoming 2014 NFPA 1192, ANSI 12V and NEC code changes that will start being enforced September 1, 2014. The next inspection staff meeting is scheduled during the upcoming RVIA National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky. Pictured in the photo are (L-R): John Proteau, standards administrator/chief inspector; Kent Perkins, senior director of RV standards; Gatie Gore, standards administrative assistant; Curt Richardson, senior inspector; Mick Sass, inspector/media coordinator; Nancy Jo Bell-London, inspection services coordinator; Greg Wischmeyer, inspector/certified technician; Bruce Hopkins, vice president, standards and education; and Sharonne Lee, director, technical information.
If you find yourself on the road this Memorial Day weekend, you might want to keep track of the recreational vehicles you see.
MSN Money reported that while not exactly a surefire economic bellwether, RV sales have been coming back after a disastrous recession for the industry, and they may be another indicator of a strengthening economy.
Elkhart, Ind., is the heart of the business, with about 83% of all North American RVs manufactured in the region. Unemployment in Elkhart soared to more than 20% in 2009 as the economic downturn deepened, RV sales plunged and several manufacturers closed their doors or disappeared through consolidation.
“When the stock market went to hell in a hand basket, when the ability to get credit went to hell in a hand basket, when your home (value) all of a sudden . . . went down so drastically, your wealth factor is pretty low. That stops motor home buying,” Richard Coon, the president of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), said recently at an industry breakfast.
But according to the RVIA, a stronger economy has pulled the industry out of a ditch. The trade group predicts more than 307,000 recreational vehicles will be manufactured and shipped this year. That number is still below the pre-recession high of 353,400 reached in 2007, but it’s nearly twice as high as the low point of just under 166,000 in 2009.
Recreational vehicles come in a wide variety of types and price ranges. Units that fit on the back of a pickup and popup camping trailers start at about $3,500. They go all the way up to tour-bus-size “home away from home” Class A vehicles, which can run anywhere from $50,000 to the hundreds of thousands of dollars. And of course you need to factor in gas prices.
Richard Curtin, the director of the Consumer Research Center at the University of Michigan, says a combination of factors is behind the recent growth in recreational vehicle sales, including an easing of credit terms and better availability of consumer loans, as well as modest gains in household income.
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The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) has partnered with the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration in a program to allow RVIA members enhanced access to international trade resources offered by the federal government.
Under the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the two organizations, RVIA and the U.S. Commercial Service’s network of worldwide offices will work together on marketing, education programs and events leveraging both entities’ expertise to help make businesses — and particularly small and medium-sized firms — more export savvy. Joint activities may include building awareness through outreach at trade shows and online registration for resource support.
As a strategic partner with the U.S. Commercial Service’s New Market Exporter Initiative, RVIA member companies will receive:
• Expert advice on new export markets.
• Access to free on-line market research reports.
• Opportunities for export training.
• Access to trade counseling through Commercial Service’s worldwide network by registering at www.export.gov/rvia.
• Assistance in complying with regulatory and documentation requirements.
• Expert advice, local contacts and market intelligence from specialists located in targeted markets.
• Services to connect to local distributors and representatives.
“We’re pleased to welcome RVIA as a partner in our efforts to strengthen the U.S. economy and support local jobs through expanding U.S. exports,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sánchez. “With more than 95% of potential customers living outside U.S. borders, it’s imperative that American companies of all sizes consider the benefits of selling their products abroad.”
“The RV industry is growing and thriving in established and new markets in countries across the globe,” said RVIA President Richard Coon. “The services and expertise offered through the New Market Exporter Initiative will be very useful to our members who are looking to explore opportunities in global markets. We are very proud to partner with the U.S. Commercial Service, part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, in this initiative and urge our members to take full advantage of the tools and resources available through the effort.”
For more information about the New Market Exporter Initiative and to begin using the program’s services, go to www.export.gov/rvia. For additional information, contact Craig Kirby, RVIA vice president of international business and general counsel, at email@example.com.
Economist Richard Curtin, director of the Consumer Research Center at the University of Michigan, will provide the initial outlook for RV wholesale shipments in 2014 during remarks at the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) Committee Week 2013 at the Joint Committee Luncheon, taking place from noon to 1:30 p.m. on June 3.
According to a press release, his presentation will also include the latest projections for year-end 2013 totals and an examination of the general economic climate.
Curtin authors RVIA’s RV Roadsigns, the association’s quarterly forecasting newsletter and has directed RVIA’s RV consumer demographic research since 1980.
RVIA’s Committee Week 2013 will take place June 2–6 at the Mayflower Renaissance Washington in Washington, D.C. Over the course of the five-day event, standing committees, the Executive Committee and the RVIA board will meet to set the association’s plans for the upcoming fiscal year. The Go RVing Coalition will also meet on June 3. The event concludes with the board meeting on June 6 where committee recommendations are reviewed.
For more information about Committee Week, contact Doreen Cashion in the Meetings and Shows Department at (703) 620-6003 (ext. 324) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) public relations team has been working throughout the winter and early spring to promote the RV industry and lifestyle in the media nationwide.
According to a press release, the effort has resulted in a multitude of positive RV stories highlighting the industry’s growth in shipments, as well as key messages about the affordability, fun and flexibility of RV travel.
Stories have appeared in national and local media outlets. Here are a few highlights from the national media:
• On March 1, USA Today reported that motorhome shipments rose 13.6% in 2012 and were expected to rise approximately the same amount in 2013. The story cited RVIA statistics, included quotes from industry executives, and discussed the falling unemployment rate in Elkhart County.
• On Feb. 21, The Wall Street Journal published an article about the RV industry bouncing back from the recession. The story focused primarily on upscale design features now available in towable RVs.
• A Jan. 28 story that appeared on Today.com reported on the Kelloggs — a family with 12 children that sold their house to live full-time on the road in an RV.
• On Jan. 27, RV tailgating was highlighted on the FOX News morning show “Fox & Friends.” The segment featured sportswriter Kerry Byrne, who also published blog entries and videos highlighting the RV lifestyle on the popular NFL site ColdHardFootballFacts.com.
RVIA has also worked with show promoters across the country to generate media coverage of the new products and record crowds reported at RV shows. Positive stories about the industry’s growing sales and popularity appeared in dozens of local media outlets around the country. For full details, visit the “News Room” at RVIA.org.
Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) members will visit members of Congress and their key legislative staff during the association’s Capitol Hill Advocacy Day, scheduled for June 5 during Committee Week.
“Advocacy Day is one of the highlights of Committee Week for attendees and a vitally important element in RVIA’s efforts to increase awareness of the industry and our issues at the federal level,” said Jay Landers, RVIA’s senior director of government affairs, in a press release. “These visits and meetings help strengthen relationships between RVIA members and the members of Congress who represent their states and districts.”
RVIA’s Government Affairs staff schedules appointments with elected officials, provides briefing materials and accompanies members on visits. The program also gives participants the opportunity to have photos taken with Congressmen and Senators.
Advocacy Day begins with a morning meeting during which RVIA members are briefed on the issues they will be discussing with congressional members and their staff. The briefing includes rehearsal exercises that help RVIA members practice discussing key issues before they set out to meet elected officials.
For more information on RVIA’s Capitol Hill Advocacy Day visit http://www.rvia.org/?ESID=CHAD or contact Monika Geraci at email@example.com or (703) 620-6003 (ext. 318).
Shipment reports released by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) show that after a steady 2012, park model shipments were up sharply to start 2013.
According to a press release, this follows a trend seen across the entire RV industry. RVIA is reporting that 2,770 units were shipped in 2012, a small improvement over the 2,761 units that the Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA) reported were shipped by manufacturers in 2011.
According to RVIA Executive Director of Recreational Park Trailers Matt Wald, “Park trailer shipments began surging in October of 2012 and that has continued into 2013. In fact, shipments in January of 2013 were an incredible 138% higher than shipments reported in January 2012. Through February 2013, park model shipments are about 75% higher compared to the first two months of 2012.”
He added, “The bottom line is that the park model industry has been red hot for the past five months.”
Wald points to a number of factors for the surge in shipments, including growing interest in seasonal camping as Baby Boomers continue to retire in droves as well as a push by many campgrounds to reap the benefits of making deluxe camping accommodation rentals available to their customers.
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) Nominating Committee has issued a call for candidates from the association’s membership to run in this year’s board election.
According to a press release, there are seven positions up for election this year including seats for one manufacturer, one recreation park trailer manufacturer, two at-large, and three supplier representatives.
The RVIA board has the highest level of authority in the association’s organizational structure. It is responsible for association affairs on a broad policy basis. The board meets three times per year: in March, during Committee Week in June, and in mid-September.
“The RVIA Board plays an integral role in guiding the work of the association and shaping the future of the RV industry,” said RVIA President Richard Coon. “We encourage any association member with an interest in working on the key issues facing the RV industry to run for a seat on the RVIA board.”
Each RVIA manufacturer and supplier member company is afforded a single vote in the association elections, scheduled to take place electronically in August. Newly elected board members will begin serving their terms on Oct. 1.
Those interested in becoming a candidate for the RVIA board elections should contact RVIA’s Mac Bryan at (703) 620-6003, ext. 334, or firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration by the RVIA Nominating Committee.
That group is chaired by Jeff Rutherford of Carefree of Colorado and includes Andy Baer of KZRV LP, Gregg Fore of Dicor Corp. and Jim Sheldon of Navistar RV.
RVIA’s Committee Week 2013 will take place June 2–6 at the Mayflower Renaissance Washington in Washington, D.C., according to a press release.
Over the course of the five-day event, standing committees, the Executive Committee and the RVIA board will meet to set the association’s plans for the upcoming fiscal year. The Go RVing Coalition will also meet on June 3.
In addition to the full slate of committee meetings, other key events on the schedule include:
• 2014 RV Market Outlook – Economist Richard Curtin, director of consumer research at the University of Michigan, will provide the first forecast for the RV market in 2014 and examine the current economic climate at the Joint Committee Luncheon on June 3.
• RVIA’s Capitol Hill Advocacy Day – RVIA members will visit Capitol Hill on June 5 to meet with legislators and their staff to discuss key issues critical to the RV industry.
• Networking Events – Several joint committee luncheons and receptions, including the opening reception the evening of June 3 at the National Museum of Crime and Punishment, will give Committee Week participants the opportunity to establish, renew and build upon the relationships critical to business success.
The Mayflower Renaissance Washington is a luxury hotel and historic landmark. Proclaimed by President Truman to be Washington, D.C.’s “Second Best Address” after the White House, the hotel is on the National Registry of Historic Places and a Historic Hotel of America.
Located just blocks from the White House, metro stops and dining and cultural hot spots, the 4-diamond property offers a splendid center for exploring the city.
For more information about Committee Week, contact Doreen Cashion in the Meetings and Shows Department at (703) 620-6003 (ext. 324) or email@example.com.