Many RV owners prefer to stand still

RV owners prefer to stand still

Seasonal campsites are more coveted than ever by RV owners worried about gas prices, so campsites have to turn them down.

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“Seasonal camping used to be cheesy, but it’s trendy. We have 30 people on our waiting list, but only two places have become available this year,” says Élise Ménard, manager of Beau Lieu campsite and its 402 seasonal sites near Sherbrooke.

The majority of the twenty or so establishments contacted recently by Le Journal were also full seasonally, and have been for several months.

“This year we will definitely surpass our record number of seasonal workers from last year,” said Sylvain Gauthier, Operations Manager for Quebec’s 11 Parkbridge campgrounds, which have more than 5,000 sites of this type.

With around fifty names on her waiting list, Johanne Breton estimates that prospects may have to wait two more summers before settling in the Laurentians for the season at the Mirabel campsite she owns.

At the Parc de la Péninsule in Mauricie, enthusiasts even prefer to buy a trailer that is already installed at one of the 330 sites rather than waiting ten years, reveals Monique Marquis, reservations manager.

Refueling hurts

If the pandemic has a lot to do with this renewed interest in seasonal camping, the price at the pump is also changing, according to several operators.

“Obviously people are a little discouraged. If you don’t have a lot of money, you want to be more stationary,” says Ms. Breton.

Class A vehicles (among the largest) can easily use 20 to 30 liters per 100 km, while gasoline costs more than $2 per liter. Towing a trailer also costs more.

Less far, longer

As a result, “most people will walk less far or stay in the same place longer instead of jumping around,” believes Denis Robitaille of the Fédération québécoise de camping caravaning.

An online poll conducted by the organization in mid-April, when gas was $1.75/L, also shows that one in five campers planned to extend their stay at the same location and 17% planned to stay closer to theirs place to camp.

However, these fewer or longer trips are not necessarily bad news for the Quebec camping industry.

“We do not have the impression that the increase in the price of petrol will have a negative impact [pour les affaires]. Even if people stay longer in the same campsite, they are still in a campsite,” says Simon Tessier, CEO of Camping Québec.

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