SNOWBIRDS ARE ARRIVING EARLY ACROSS ARIZONA
Several RV parks also anticipate a busier winter season last year, despite the drop in the value of the Canadian dollar
PHOENIX, Ariz., Nov. 9, 2015 — Snowbirds are arriving ahead of schedule across Arizona, thanks to cold weather up north, and some RV park operators are taking this as a sign of a busier winter season than last year.
“Our members are telling us they expect a very strong snowbird season this winter,” said Scott Swanson, president of the Arizona Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds, which hosts GoCampingInArizona.com, the statewide travel planning website.
Swanson’s own park, Leaf Verde RV Resort in Buckeye, is a case in point. “I already have a waiting list for people who want to come in for three months in January, February or March,” he said, adding that last winter he didn’t have to start a waiting list until January.
Swanson also noted that his Canadian snowbirds are still coming to the valley, despite the weakening Canadian dollar, which has lost about a third of its value compared to the U.S. dollar in recent months.
Other park operators across Arizona are similarly upbeat about the strength of the upcoming winter season.
“We’re already full for the season,” said Jana Gann, office manager for The Resort, a 792-site RV park in Mesa. She added that snowbirds started coming to the park as early as the beginning of October.
“They are here early,” she said, adding that Canadians are still coming down for the winter, despite the falling value of the Canadian dollar. “It hasn’t slowed them down,” she said.
“I think we’ll be the same or a little busier than last winter,” said Vicki Jepperson, general manager of the Pueblo El Mirage RV and Golf Resort, which has 1,292 sites.
Jepperson added that even though the Canadian dollar has lost about a third of its value, Canadian snowbirds are still coming to Arizona for the winter. She is also seeing some new snowbirds come into the area.
Elsewhere in Arizona, RV park operators have similar reports.
“The snowbirds are coming down earlier,” said Annette Weinell, office manager for Rincon Country RV Resorts in Tucson, which operates two parks with a combined total about 1,600 RV and park model sites.
“We saw a quicker return of the annuals that have the park models,” she said. “It seems like they came back a few weeks sooner than they normally do.”
Weinell attributes the early arrival of the snowbirds to cold weather up north. She added that the Canadians are continuing to come south, despite the declining value of their currency.
“We’re not seeing the drop-off like we thought they would,” she said, adding, “they are still motivated to get out of the cold weather.”
Chuck Hays of Far Horizons Tucson Village RV Resort in Tucson said he has been surprised by the early return of snowbirds as well. “We’re seeing a lot more activity than we usually see in October,” he said, adding, “As for the rest of the year, all indications are that it will be a very strong season.”
“Right now, we’ve got quite a few snowbirds that are passing through,” said Barb Michalski, who works at the front desk for the 173-site Butterfield RV Resort and Observatory in Benson.
“For the winter months, I’ve got a feeling we’re going to be very busy,” Michalski said. “We have very few sites left for January, February and March. Those months are going to be very busy.”
Robert Rolle, who owns and operates Rolle’s Lynda Vista RV Park in Yuma, said “a few” of his snowbirds have already arrived for the winter. But he has seen some impact of the falling Canadian dollar, however.
“One of our Canadians said he’s not going to make it because of the Canadian dollar. So there is some impact,” he said.
However, Rolle is hoping to have a strong winter nonetheless. He added that he just finished upgrading his 110 spaces from 30 to 50 amp electrical service, so he can accommodate larger RVs with more appliances. His park also has nine apartment rental units.
The RV parks and resorts referenced in this release are members of the Arizona Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds, which represents campgrounds, RV parks and resorts across the Grand Canyon State. The association also promotes tourism to Arizona through its website at GoCampingInArizona.com and its printed campground and RV park directory.