Sunday, February 04, 2007

Campgrounds bring money to area but get no respect

Local campgrounds inject the local economy with revenue. They serve tourists. They are a natural fit with the many outdoor adventure activities in the region.

Yet they still feel their role in the area economy is underrated by tourism officials and the general public.

"I think there has been a prejudice by the local community," said Suzanne Mark, a campground consultant for Campfire Lodgings in Asheville, NC.

Linda L. Profaizer, president of the National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds, said many people are now seeking out campgrounds with unique features and amenities.

She also said campgrounds are an underrated but valuable asset to tourism.

The typical campground injects $38,400 into the local economy weekly during the busy summer season, Profaizer said. During that 12-week peak season, American campgrounds and RV parks in total contribute $3.3 billion into local economies, according to the association's research.

"That's not too shabby at all," she said. "People tend to think about our parks as still being kind of tacky places and, in reality, many of them are extremely nice."

Mark, who also used to serve as the education director for the national association, said the industry is struggling to overcome the "trailer trash" image.
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