On October 21, Go RVing Vice President Karen Redfern will participate in a Capitol Hill briefing focused on educating Members of Congress, Capitol Hill staff, public lands officials, industry partners, and the press on the ways COVID-19 has changed how Americans get outside, and the challenges and opportunities facing the outdoor recreation industry. Redfern will be joined by other outdoor recreation leaders from the National Marine Manufacturers Association, Motorcycle Industry Council, Archery Trade Association, Outdoor Industry Association, and more members of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable.
Outdoor recreation is a crucial part of the nation’s economy – especially during this time of recovery. Prior to the pandemic, the outdoor recreation industry generated $778 million in economic output, comprised 2.2 percent of GDP, and supported 5.2 million jobs. While many outdoor businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic, social distancing and lockdowns have reignited America’s passion for the outdoors.
Less than 50 percent of Americans enjoyed an outdoor experience in 2019, but a May survey found that 81 percent of Americans spent time outside during the pandemic, with many turning to outdoor recreation for the first time. This influx of new participants is reflected in sales of RVs, online passes, hunting & fishing licenses, off-road vehicles, outdoor equipment, and more. New participants are younger and more diverse, and the recreation industry is eager to harness this new energy around our public lands and waters. At the same time, increased participation is impacting the recreation experience and sustainably of recreation on America’s public lands and waters.
The briefing will cover important topics such as:
- Who are these new consumers, what are they buying, and how do we retain them?
- New ways to access the outdoors through virtual passes and platforms
- Increased participation calls for more education around recreation sustainability
- Outlook for winter recreation and year ahead
- New challenges and opportunities and impacts on economy job growth, business needs for labor and trade, and investments in public lands and waters