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Tybee Island Campground Hits Record Numbers This Fall

Category: Hospitality & Tourism

SBJ Staff

11/09/2009 - The cool crispness of the fall has brought record numbers of campers and recreational vehicle enthusiasts to River’s End RV Park & Campground on Tybee Island.

After capping off its busiest summer ever, the campground finished September and October with visitors injecting a record amount of cash into the campground’s coffers, said Woody Hemphill, campground manager.

He said the campground finished September with total revenue of $68,055 compared to $40,343 for the same month last year. The campground’s October revenues were on pace to total about $15,000 more than October 2008’s revenues, Hemphill said.
The campground’s revenue numbers began climbing in May, hitting $98,094. In June they climbed to $117,814 and reached $138,176 in July, with 80 percent occupancy on weekdays and 95-99 percent on weekends.

This vacation season also marked the first in which River’s End offered cabins to visitors. The half-dozen cabins, which sleep up to six, will be marketed in promotional materials in the coming year and should begin showing a return on the $27,300 spent to install each of the cabins, Hemphill said.

Promotions of the campground and its new amenities are done through travel park marketing specialists Affinity Group and will begin in January, he noted.

Although the campground manager is pleased with the visitor and revenue numbers, he said he expects hoteliers and other lodging businesses will step up criticsm of the campground as a city property that drains business from the private sector. “I’m in a catch-22 as a businesss model,” Hemphill said. “If I make a profit I’m criticized by the hotels.”

On the other hand, “I’m criticized if I’m not making money,” he said, referring to sustained complaints from Tybee City Council members that paying off the 18-acre property’s $7 million purchase has been a drain on city coffers.

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