COVID-19 and our community
In late February, ORVDA began contingency planning should the then-unnamed Coronavirus, now known as COVID-19, disrupt the Kitchener RV Show & Sale and the all important spring lead-up to the camping and RV season.
Last week things escalated in ways we could not have imagined.
As the association tasked with advocating on behalf of the Ontario RV community, the ORVDA wants to assure our membership that we are monitoring the situation closely. We are prepared and are taking relevant action.
Government support for business expected
The federal government is preparing a significant stimulus package which is expected to be released in the coming days. We anticipate there will be support for small and medium businesses and will issue updates as details become available. Prime Minister Trudeau has scheduled a press conference for 1pm ET today which may include some of those measures. Premier Doug Ford will also be making an announcement at 11am.
Reinforcing the value of the RV sector
The federal budget, originally scheduled for March 30th has been delayed until April. The ORVDA is working with our government relations committee to ensure the RV sector, with its strong connection to healthy, outdoor activities is well-represented as the government looks for short-term mechanisms to boost the economy.
Travel and tourism account for approximately 6.4% of Canada’s GDP. While international travel and high-volume, high-density airline, railways, hotels and resorts have been decimated, RVing and camping offer individualized travel and holiday options for families. Our sector will be part of the country’s economic recovery.
An aggressive communications initiative
Last week, the board approved an aggressive advertising campaign as part of a broader communications strategy that will reposition our sector in the minds of Ontarians. The advertising materials are fully and easily customizable for our members: they have been developed to support the community. When appropriate — once the full extent of the COVID-19 emergency is understood and the situation stabilizes — we will begin rolling that campaign out to the public.
The long view
Clearly, our community will absorb short-term economic impacts. But in the longer term, the ORVDA expects the COVID-19 tragedy will prove a watershed moment for the RV sector. This is an opportunity to firmly establish the RV lifestyle to new markets. We are a community that relishes unique, healthy outdoor experiences. That will take on new significance as life returns to normal.
As we all absorb the terrible threat to the health of our families and the economic implications for our businesses, let’s keep the long view in mind.
Guard your health,