Snowbirds provide economic boost
RV snowbirds are starting to arrive at campgrounds in Florida, Arizona and other warm places for the winter. This year, though, their arrival is more anticipated than in previous years since they provide a much-needed boost to local economies.
The Orlando Sentinel reports snowbirds spend an estimated $4 billion in Florida each winter. The recession has caused many of them to wait longer before committing to a trip. "They're waiting for deals. That always seems to happen when you have a downturn in the economy," Rob Varley, executive director of the Space Coast Office of Tourism in Florida told the newspaper.
According to KOLD News 13 in Tucson, Arizona, local restaurants, shops and other businesses depend on these winter visitors to keep them financially afloat.
Although snowbirds are already arriving in Arizona, officials wonder if the economy will hinder their spending. "What we're seeing is that the true winter visitors are coming in on pace. I just don't know if their spending while they're here will be as strong," Robert Brinton, president of the Mesa Convention and Visitors Bureau told the Arizona Republic.
Overall, the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds predicts a mediocre season.
Not great news for many, but George O'Leary, owner of Rincon Country RV Resort in Tucson, Arizona says the economy hasn't affected his business so far. In fact, already this year, reservations are up 25 percent compared to last year.