b'grown up together in this industry and COVID has continued to draw more interest to RVing in Canada, and Devenish said that it venish and his team had their hands fullI am fortunate to have made so many has kept most RV dealers busy as they try to restock their lots. workingwithCanadasprovincialgreat friends along the way. campground associations to help createDevenish served as a director on the COVID-19 health protocols for camp-CRVA board since the early 1990s, just a grounds. The Camping and RV Councilfew years after launching his career in worked directly with most of our mem-thefinanceindustry.Hedecidedto ber provinces and their health depart-make a career change in 2014 and took ments, Devenish said. on the full-time job as CRVA president Therearejustover2,400privatewhen Larry Boydretired. It was just two campgroundsinCanada,andtheyears later when Cattelier unexpectedly CCRVC has more than 1,500 members,resigned her position as head of the Devenish said, so the association facedCCRVC and Devenish was asked to run extraordinary pressure to help developthe campground council, too. the protocols that could enable them toOver the past year, Devenish has been open as early as possible and have amanaging both associations through what successful camping season.has become one of the most challenging Canadas campground operators ex-periods in history with the COVID-19 pan- Canadas percentage of the overall market dustrieshaveconcernsabout2021, perienced exceptionally strong demanddemic creating unprecedented economic remained under normal historic figures. Devenish said. Our dealer inventory in 2020, with seasonal campgroundsdisruption across North America, while Canadian RV dealers were forced to shelves are pretty bare, and were very performing better than transient ones.prompting Canadian officials to close the close early in 2020 due to the pandemic, concerned about getting inventory lev- One big exception, Devenish said, in-countrys borders. which set the stage for an intense summer els up to a certain point where our deal- volvedCanadasAtlanticProvinces,The pandemic, of course, has also season. (Our RV dealers) were generally ers can be successful next year. which refused to allow travelers fromunleashedunprecedentedconsumer closed coast-to-coast until mid-May, De- Thegoodnews,however,isthat other Canadian provinces or the U.Sdemand for RVs in Canada as well as a venish said, adding that most of the deal- many of Canadas RV dealers have sold without self-quarantining for 14 days.booming interest in camping, which is ers were permitted to make curbside or their aging inventory. TheAtlanticBubblewasestab-viewedasoneofthesafestwaysto outside sales and some service. Liquidating old inventory in Canada lished in Canada when New Brunswick,recreate and vacation during the pan- Wheneverybodywasallowedto can sometimes be difficult if we see the Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island anddemic, Devenish said.open finally, things started booming, U.S.exchangeratefluctuatesignifi- Newfoundland got together to try toCanadianRVdealerstypicallysell Devenish said. It was extremely diffi- cantly year-over-year resulting in higher keeptheirresidentssafeduringtheabout one tenth of the RVs produced in cult for dealerships to get their retailed pricedmaturedproduct,Devenish pandemic. The Atlantic Provinces didNorth America each year, said Devenish, RVs ready for consumers after being vir- said. 2020 was a good year for dealers not have nearly the number of COVIDwho has worked in a variety of roles with tually shut down for the extended pe- to get rid of their older RVs because of cases as other areas in Canada, De-Canadas RV industry for 35 years. How- riod.Thentheycouldntgetnew the lack of supply, but dealers had lim- venish said. So, to make the best of aever, in the third quarter of 2020, we replacement inventory fast enough. ited time to sell their units. Meanwhile, bad situation, they said, Why dont wewerelessthan7%,Devenishsaid, Canadian RV dealers continue to face you had consumers clamoring to buy encourage travel amongst us? But as aadding that he is at a loss to explain why challenges acquiring enough inventory to an RV and get outside. All of our dealers result, most private campgrounds in theunit shipments increased compared to meet consumer demand, Devenish said. were literally running ragged. region were down from last year, having2019duringthesameperiodthat The Canadian RV and camping in- Duringthefirsthalfof2020,De- Key Peoplecontinued on page 29WOODALLSCM.com April 2021-25'