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Updated: 01/18/2012 05:52:10AM

27th Ft. Myers RV show at Lee Civic Center

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Promising outdoor traveling adventure and family fun, the Fort Myers Recreation Vehicle Show motors into the new year Thursday through Sunday at the Lee Civic Center.

Nelda Iacono, president of Florida RV Trade Association-Region One, said this year’s extravaganza promises to continue providing patrons the opportunity to see the latest and best camping products available to local RVers and lovers of the great outdoors.

“Attendees can view hundreds of recreation vehicles of all different types, sizes and prices,” Nelda said. “It also features 100 outdoor and camping supply vendors.”

“For many years, the Fort Myers RV Show has been the top RV show in Florida simply because of the high quality products, outstanding displays and cost-saving prices,” Nelda
explained. “I’m proud to say this emphasis on quality has enabled the show to grow into the largest dealer show in Florida and one of the largest RV shows in the Southeast.”

The 27th annual Fort Myers RV Show features dealers from throughout Florida displaying a wide selection of new recreation vehicles of all styles, brands and price ranges, including folding campers, gas and diesel motorhomes, travel trailers, toy haulers, fifth wheels, park models and van campers.

Besides RV products, the show offers attendees the chance to browse 100 outdoor and camping vendors displaying equipment and accessories to help outfit RVers or provide information on camping throughout the nation. Items include new braking systems, RV insurance, specialized camping equipment and high-tech engine enhancers for fuel efficiency.

Recent research conducted by Dr. Richard Curtin, RV Industry analyst and director of consumer surveys at the University of Michigan, reveals
8.5 percent of U.S. households now own RVs, up from 8.0 percent in 2005. RV ownership rates have surged among adults 35-54 and 55 and over, according to Curtin. In the 35-54 demographic, RV ownership rose from 9.0 percent in 2005 to 11.2 percent today. Among those 55 and older, ownership rates grew from 8.6 to 9.4 percent. Ownership rates among young people aged 34 years and
under fell slightly from 5.0 percent to 4.7 percent.

And, with the economy stretching consumers’ budgets, RV travel remains an affordable option. A 2008 PKF Vacation Cost comparison study showed that a family of four can save up to 61 percent on vacation costs by traveling in an RV, even after factoring in ownership costs and fuel. With higher fuel prices, more than 80 percent of RV owners say their RV vacations cost less than other forms of vacation.

Curtin says the RV growth in younger families seems to be due to the affordability of RVing, a return to simpler pleasures and a desire to get kids outdoors and away from electronic gadgets.

To combat rising fuel price, RV manufacturers have improved fuel economy through the use of plastic composite materials that has reduced the weight of RVs by as much as

The lure of RVing is bearing fruit as the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), recently reported that year-to-date total shipments rose to 219,100 units through October this year, up 4 percent from this same 10-month-period last year.

“For the vast majority of RV buyers, the interest on their purchase is deductible at tax time because it qualifies as a second home,” Nelda continues. “Now is the time to buy since RV prices have never been lower and the RV lifestyle is surprisingly affordable.”

The 27th annual Fort Myers RV Show will be open from 10 a.m. to
5 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $8 with children under 16 admitted free. Parking is free. Thursday’s tickets are discounted to $5 each.

To reach the Lee Civic Center, take exit 143 (State Road 78) and go east three miles. Go to
rv-shows for more information.