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Why Stay at Home This Memorial Day? Head for the Park FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Affinity Group, Inc.
Wednesday May 25, 2005

(Ventura, CA) – Holiday weekends at America’s RV parks and campgrounds are traditionally busy times — and this year promises more of the same.

It’s easy to understand why enjoying a holiday in an RV park or campground is becoming increasingly popular. Outdoor recreation is on the rise as American households look for healthier, family-oriented activities, and camping and RVing is an easy and fun way to enjoy a vacation while demanding very little planning.

Easter weekend saw occupancy levels in the 50+ percentile, even though the holiday period was earlier than usual. Not surprisingly, traditionally sunnier and warmer regions saw the highest occupancy levels — 75 percent — as many of the Northern and Midwestern parks were just beginning to open.

With most of the country’s commercial RV parks and campgrounds now open, the Memorial Day weekend — the traditional beginning of the summer vacation season — is seeing upward trends in reservations. After being cooped up all winter, families and vacationers are looking for a way to spend more time outdoors.

Last year Woodall’s/ARVC RV Park and Campground Survey estimated that more than $3.8 billion was spent by RVers and campers in local communities as they visited the nation’s commercial RV parks and campgrounds from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

The Woodall’s/ARVC RV Park and Campground Survey is an ongoing research program conducted by Michigan State University. First rolled-out in spring 2004, the survey collects weekly occupancy numbers and economic spending patterns from participating parks and campgrounds. This study is the first and only one of its kind and provides invaluable information about commercial campground and RV park activity.

The highest overall average occupancy rate throughout the United States last year was reported for the July Fourth weekend — nearly 80 percent. Not unexpectedly, the highest occupancy rates were Friday and Saturday nights. The survey predicts a similar pattern for this Memorial Day weekend, with the expectation that Sunday will be another high occupancy night.

“We are just beginning to experience peak RV and camper travel,” said Linda Profaizer, ARVC president and CEO. “Easter weekend alone saw occupancy levels rise to an average of 51 percent. Last year occupancy approached 77 percent over Memorial Day and we can expect the same for this holiday weekend.”

There are 124,865,541 site nights available for occupancy in commercial RV parks and campgrounds, according to the Michigan State University survey. There are more than 1 million sites available in 8,000 commercial RV parks and campgrounds throughout the United States. With an average occupancy of 77 percent last Memorial Day across all campgrounds participating in the survey, that translates to 96,146,466 occupied site nights.

The average spending per party per campsite in local communities near the campgrounds, not including campsite fees, is $324 for the holiday weekend.

The $324 figure is based on the national average from Michigan State University’s study of the 2004 Memorial Day holiday. It is believed that the estimate of $250 million in local camper spending for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend is a conservative estimate because it does not fully account for spending by campers who are membership campers, own their campsites or rent campsites for the season. It also does not include the multiplier effects of the spending.

“There is still plenty of room for last minute travelers,” said Joe Daquino, Affinity Group, Inc.’s multimedia division vice president and Woodall’s publisher. Woodall’s, which publishes a North American Campground Directory along with numerous regional publications, lists and tracks campgrounds throughout North America. Each year, commercial RV parks and campgrounds are personally inspected by one of Woodall’s 30 representative teams. “We view the parks personally — and can tell you that there are some great destinations there for the taking,” said Daquino.

Despite record-high gasoline prices nationwide, RVers are still traveling in record numbers. They also are traveling more often and use long holiday weekends as frequent getaway periods.

Still considered one of the most flexible and convenient ways for families to travel, RVs provide transportation and accommodations in one convenient package. This all-in-one travel mode makes planned or spur-of-the-moment trips easy.

With plenty of campground and RV park sites still available, families can pick up and get on the road even now. That seems to suit today’s American travel lifestyle perfectly. Families like the convenience and flexibility of RVing while others enjoy weekend outings with their “toys” — motorcycles, ATVs, boats, etc.

RV rentals offer an alternative to ownership and provide all the same benefits. It is also an excellent way to try out the lifestyle, especially during an extended holiday weekend.

Many RV parks and campgrounds also offer other forms of accommodations. Some have cabins available for rental, while others offer tent camping.

“We recommend that you contact a campground in an area you want to visit,” said Linda Profaizer. “One way to do that is to visit these online resources, www.gocampingamerica.com or www.woodalls.com

Not sure what to bring or where to go? Woodall’s, which is celebrating 70 years in the business, is one of the most comprehensive resources in the industry. The Directory rates campgrounds and RV parks in order to assist travelers with finding their ideal destination.

About Woodall’s
Woodall (Woodall’s) Publications Corporation is a multimedia publisher producing annual directories, regional monthly publications, a variety of specific-interest books and online publications, each designed to reach different segments of the RV and camping consumer marketplace. The Woodall’s Campground Directory is the official directory of the Family Motor Coach Association, Camping World’s President Club and Family Campers and RVers. For more information on Woodall’s publications, call 800-323-9076 or visit www.woodalls.com

About ARVC
The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) is the national association representing over 3700 parks and campgrounds throughout the United States and Canada. The association is headquartered in Falls Church, VA. More information about the association can be found at www.ARVC.org. Additional information about the association’s member parks, an online directory of parks and other camping services, and general information for camping consumers can be found at www.gocampingamerica.com.

Contact: Joe Daquino, Multimedia Division Vice President/Woodall’s Publisher
805-667-4305 • jdaquino@affinitygroup.com

Linda Profaizer, ARVC President and CEO
703-241-8801 ext. 12 • lprofaizer@arvc.org

Julie Calzone, President/CEO Calzone & Associates
337-235-2924 ext. 3 • jcalzone@calzone.com

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