The annual Atlantic City RV Show is growing again, driven by the rebound in the recreational vehicle industry.
The show used to fill the main hall and an additional space at Atlantic City Convention Center before the downturn, show manager Anthony Tedesco said. After the recession, it used just a portion of the main hall.
“This year we’ve sold out our booth space and filled up the entire main hall with RVs for the first time since the economy went south,” said Tedesco, of GS Media & Events. “We’ve got dealers wanting more space and we can’t accommodate them.”
He said advance ticket sales are also higher than last year, when about 14,000 visited the show.
The Progressive Insurance 18th annual Atlantic City RV Show is the last in the state for preseason purchases. Tedesco said there was record attendance and strong sales at the firm’s New Jersey RV Show last month in Edison.
Shipments of recreational vehicles bottomed out in 2009 with 166,000 units and have grown strongly since, Recreation Vehicle Industry Association figures show.
Preliminary figures for 2012 show 286,000 RVs shipped, up from the 252,000 units the year before.
The RV industry rebound is also a positive indicator for the region, since the eastern section of South Jersey has the vast majority of the campgrounds in the state, with 15,000 campsites in Cape May County alone, according to the New Jersey Campground Association.
Driftwood RV Centers, in Egg Harbor Township and the Clermont section of Dennis Township, did well at the Edison show and expects the same or better in Atlantic City.
John Worthington, marketing director, said Driftwood will create something unique for the Atlantic City RV Show, where it always has a very large display.
“We’re building a Florida room and a deck onto a park model, making it a complete unit just like you’d see in a campground,” Worthington said.
Tedesco said that with the industry improvement, there will be new models never seen before in Atlantic City.
One will be Driftwood’s Breckenridge park models, which are 8-feet wide instead of the typical 12 feet for a park model for use at campgrounds that may not allow the larger models, said Worthington, of Millville.
Driftwood will also show the Dutchman line of travel trailers, new to the firm and a brand that hasn’t been at the show in recent years, he said.
Tedesco said there will be 200 RVs at the show and more than 100 display booths, which also offer campgrounds, service and RV-related products.
The biggest change in this year’s show for Minneapolis-based GS Media, which manages 30 mostly RV shows, will be the first-ever addition of a fourth show day Monday, the President’s Day holiday.
“We all thought last year that adding the holiday would be a great idea,” Worthington said. “This opens it up to people who are not able to get there on the weekend.”
Tedesco said RVing expert Bernie Jwaszewski will give presentations throughout each show day on traveling to some of the six national parks where he has worked.
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