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RV Industry Association Celebrates 50th Anniversary

The RV Industry Association (RVIA) marked a significant milestone today, Tuesday, June 5, during RVs Move America Week, celebrating its 50th anniversary. This event not only highlighted the longevity of the Association but also underscored the unity and collaboration that have driven the RV industry forward for half a century.

RVIA President & CEO Craig Kirby and Chairman Kevin McArt reflected on the Association’s journey, from its formation in October 1974 to its current status as a cornerstone of the RV industry. 

The Association was born from the merger of the Recreational Vehicle Institute, headquartered in Des Plaines, Illinois, and the Travel Coach Association of Riverside, California. This merger led to the creation of the RVIA and its relocation to the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.

Warren Jones, the Association’s first chairman, played a pivotal role in emphasizing the importance of unity within the RV industry

As per the News & Insights report of the RVIA, Jones and his contemporaries recognized that the RV industry needed to stand together to navigate political, cultural, and economic challenges effectively. This vision has been central to the RVIA’s efforts and successes over the past 50 years.

In 1979, the RVIA achieved a major milestone by becoming the sponsor and secretariat of the ANSI A119 standards for recreation vehicles, RV parks, and campgrounds. This role allowed the industry to self-govern, setting high standards for quality and safety that remain in place today. 

This accomplishment laid the groundwork for a self-regulated industry that could adapt and thrive amid changing regulations and market conditions.

The RVIA has consistently advocated for the RV industry at various governmental levels, including Presidential administrations, the Supreme Court, and Congress. 

Many of its most significant successes have occurred at the state level, where the Association worked diligently to standardize a myriad of differing state laws and regulations concerning RV standards and dimensions. This harmonization process has greatly benefited manufacturers and consumers alike.

In the 1990s, the RVIA partnered with the RV Dealers Association to address the critical need for RV technician training and certification. This collaboration resulted in the establishment of the RV Technical Institute, which now offers a world-class training program. This program continues to elevate the skills of RV technicians, ensuring high service standards across the industry.

Early on, RVs were often perceived negatively, seen as gas-guzzlers and primarily associated with older buyers. However, through sustained public relations efforts and the successful Go RVing national advertising campaign, these perceptions have dramatically shifted. 

Today, RVs are celebrated as a mainstream travel option, embraced by millions of Americans for their versatility and the freedom they offer.

Throughout its history, the RVIA has navigated numerous challenges, including oil embargoes, economic downturns, natural disasters, and the recent pandemic. Despite these obstacles, the Association’s commitment to unity and collective action has remained unwavering, ensuring the continued growth and resilience of the RV industry.

The RVIA’s achievements over the past 50 years are a testament to the dedication of its member companies and the support of numerous partners, including the RV Dealers Association, the OHI, the Outdoor Industry Association, and various state RV dealer and campground associations. These collaborations have been instrumental in promoting and protecting the interests of the RV industry.

As the RVIA celebrates this golden anniversary, it looks to the future with optimism. The Association is committed to continuing its mission of supporting the RV industry and fostering a sense of unity among its members. 

With engaged member companies and dedicated volunteers, the RVIA is well-positioned to navigate future challenges and opportunities.

The RV Industry Association’s 50-year journey reflects the power of unity and collaboration. As it embarks on the next 50 years, the Association remains dedicated to promoting and protecting the RV industry, ensuring that the spirit of adventure and freedom that RVs represent continues to thrive.

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Hi, you might find this article from Modern Campground interesting: RV Industry Association Celebrates 50th Anniversary! This is the link: https://moderncampground.com/usa/rv-industry-association-celebrates-50th-anniversary/