The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) has reversed its position for the next two years and invited recreational park trailer manufacturers to participate in the 46th Annual National RV Trade Show Dec. 2-4 in Louisville, Ky.
The invitation was extended Oct. 1 after a meeting in Chicago between RVIA Chairman Jim Sheldon and President Richard Coon and park model builder Curt Yoder, president of the Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA), and RPTIA Executive Director Bill Garpow.
RVIA’s board, citing a waiting list for its members to reserve space in the Kentucky Exposition Center (KEC), decided in March not to extend an invitation to RPTIA members and park trailer builders in general.
“We want them to come back, but probably we are only good for a couple of years,” Coon said. “When we told them we could not go forward, it was before this significant downturn. If things pick up, we are probably going to go back to where we were.”
Garpow sent an e-mail last week informing his membership that a formal invitation would be sent.
The two associations earlier this year had been at odds over RVIA’s new rule effective Jan. 1 that allowed travel trailer manufacturers to increase the size of their units from 320 square feet to 400 square feet, a move that RPTIA opposed. This was widely believed to have been a factor in RPTIA’s departure from the show.
“The Chicago meeting was productive,” Garpow told RVBusiness, adding that he couldn’t predict how many RPTIA members would accept the invitation. “The only thing that is firm at this point is that RVIA is going to offer Louisville space to RPTIA members for at least the next two years.
“The bottom line is that we’ve reopened communication between the two organizations in a positive way.”
Coon said that it hasn’t been decided how 22,000 square feet of display space in KEC’s Broadbent Arena will be allocated – on a first-come, first-served basis or by lottery. That depends, he said, on how many of RPTIA’s 60 park model manufacturers members are interested in displaying product in Louisville.
Limits on the size for the Broadbent displays will be doubled to 2,000 square feet. “We think people will jump on it pretty quickly, and we expect to fill the whole arena,” Coon said.
An average of about a dozen RPTIA members have displayed at Louisville in the past, Coon said.
“It’s not necessarily a money issue,” he added. “We wanted to make it possible for them to have a show.”