TORONTO – The Canadian Camping and RV Council (CCRVC) presented the third annual Canadian Outdoor Hospitality Conference and Expo (COHCE) Feb. 15-16. Sponsored by Campspot Software, the virtual conference brought together industry leaders, experts, and stakeholders to discuss the latest trends and issues facing the outdoor hospitality industry, according to a release..
One of the conference’s standout sessions was “Associations Around the World,” which featured presentations from campground owner associations in Germany and Australia on how they support their members, and the state of the camping market in their respective jurisdictions. Another key session was the “Tourism Outlook for 2023 and Beyond,” which included insights from David Robinson, Senior Vice President, Public Affairs and Corporate Secretary at Destination Canada, and Marc Seguin, VP Policy and Government Affairs at the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, about their national-level tourism strategies and their impact on the Outdoor Hospitality sector of the tourism market.
The conference’s keynote session, “Tailwinds and Headwinds,” was given by Toby O’Rourke, President and CEO of Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA). O’Rourke highlighted that while camping is resilient, several factors could impact the industry’s growth rate in 2023. These headwinds include the economy, lasting COVID-19 effects, labor market issues, site availability, and meeting camper expectations. These are countered by tailwinds related to consumers view on camping’s affordability compared to other vacation options. The KOA study revealed that 47% of Canadian Campers see camping as a travel option that is more affordable than most others. O’Rourke further noted that camping offers more flexibility for consumers, such as skipping long lines in airports or avoiding the risk of flight cancelation.
Rounding out the two-day schedule, other education sessions at the conference covered EV implementation, environmental stewardship in campgrounds, government relations, marketing, and staff hiring and retention, along with many more.
During the conference, the CCRVC also announced its annual award winners. Twin Shores Camping Area in PEI won the Campground of the Year award in the large category, having 250 or more campsites, while Debonair Campground in MB won the Campground of the Year award for parks with under 250 campsites.
Insider Perks won Supplier of the Year, after their continued robust and innovative support of the association and its members through various products and services that help campgrounds utilize technology, automation, and other tools to maximize efficiency, customer service, and ingenuity.
Robert Trask from Chesley Lake Camp in ON was named the Camping and RV Industry Person of the Year, in recognition of his decades of commitment to the Provincial and National Associations, expertise in campground operations, and tireless support of the industry as a whole.
Cara Csizmadia, member services director for the CCRVC, expressed her gratitude for the support of the event, saying, “The third annual installment of the conference was another big success, and we are so grateful to our sponsors, attendees, and presenters for their time, support, and commitment to our industry. The quantity and quality of information and industry-focused training is so valuable to campground owners and operators who work hard to continue to deliver wonderful camping experiences to their guests from coast to coast. “
For more information about the Canadian Camping and RV Council and the Canadian Outdoor Hospitality Conference and Expo, visit www.ccrvc.ca.