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Rev up the RV: Local camping industry booms in pandemic

Published: Aug. 21, 2020 at 6:29 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 24, 2020 at 4:41 AM EDT
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APPLING, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -Travel agencies say since the pandemic started, domestic travel has increased significantly. People have spent so much time inside their homes that they’re looking to get outdoors.

One industry that is booming is the recreational vehicle industry, and you can definitely see the proof at Mistletoe State Park in Appling.

“This campground and Mistletoe and all the others I’ve camped at, I had to book it a year in advance,” Bill Fanning, one camper at the park, said.

Mistletoe State Park has been a hotspot for travelers looking to get outdoors. Fanning has been camping for 30 years and says it's the new way to take a vacation during the pandemic.

“My wife and I camp pretty regularly. Social distancing really doesn’t have a part in that, but it is pretty easy to get away and be able to be socially distant,” he said.

Altogether, the park has 93 campsites. Park manager Trevor Bullard says it's been a safe way for travelers to naturally social distance.

And with entertainment being shut down, their park has seen an increase in traffic.

RV and camper dealerships across the country are seeing a 170 percent increase in sales since May, and the same trends are being felt right here in Augusta.

“We’ve seen an increase in the number of walk-in traffic, phone traffic, internet leads that we’ve had over last year, and we believe it’s because of the pandemic,” Phillip Price, president of CSRA Camperland, said.

Price's lot normally has around 115 units. Now he's in the mid-20s.

“People see the outlet and that’s why we’ve had such a rush with the boat dealers, the RV dealers,” he said.

And it's an easier way for people to travel while staying safe.

“It’s a lot easier for somebody to follow the guidelines and take their quarantine with them,” Price said.

And campers at mistletoe state park agree that it's a way to quarantine yourself from others while getting some exercise.

“I think it’s safe because you can keep to yourself at your camper and stay away,” Price said.

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