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Old 01-25-2007, 02:31 PM   #1
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Default Business is booming at RV dealerships (in British Columbia)

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Business is booming at RV dealerships
Baby boomers being joined by those in their 30s

byJim Jamieson, The Province
Published: Thursday, January 25, 2007

B.C.'s booming economy is turning the motorized getaway into big business.

Dealers in recreational vehicles expect to ring up about $9 million in sales when an annual RV show opens at Abbotsford's Tradex centre a week from today.

The four-day Earlybird RV show show will be just a kickoff for a B.C. industry that generated more than $300 million in revenues in 2005.

Milfred Abrams, a manager at Traveland RV Supercentre in Langley, said his company and the B.C. industry have seen steady growth in the last few years, thanks to the province's robust economy.

"We're still selling to the snowbirds and the baby boomers, but we've also got a new market of people in their 30s," said Abrams.

"These are people with young families, who want to spend time with their kids.

"It's the strong economy. People have money to spend."

Continuing low interest rates and a strong Canadian dollar -- most RVs are manufactured in the U.S. -- have also made buying a motorhome or travel trailer a more realistic option for consumers.

Traveland sold 72 more units last year than in 2005. Abrams said an average unit sells for $20,000.

His company expects to sell 50-60 units at the RV show.

Anne Salomon, co-owner of Langley's Candan RV Centre and past president of the RV Dealers Association of B.C., said people perceive RVing as a lifestyle rather than just a camping experience.

"People are taking them to the tailgate party at the football game, taking them to non-traditional destinations, getting more use out of them," she said.

Salomon said the rental business is also growing in B.C., where about 1,600 of Canada's 3,550 rental units are available.

Western Canada, with about 2,000 rental units, has the largest concentration of such units in the world. About two-thirds of the renters are from overseas.

"It's primarily German tourists, but also Swiss, Dutch, Danish and British," she said. "They love B.C."

The show [www.rvshows bc.ca] will feature 11 major manufacturers and 65 exhibitor booths.

There will be 200 RVs on display.

jjamieson@png.canwest.com
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