Andrew Cornwall
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The Economic Effects in Nova Scotia
of the RV Overnight Parking Ban
and Aspects of Campground Minimum Standards


Using Nova Scotia as a case study this report examines the consequences of a jurisdiction banning RVers staying overnight in parking lots, etc. The report contains the results of the on-line survey conducted for this study and much more information regarding RVers' practices and opinions about staying overnight in parking lots, etc. The most dramatic finding of the study is that RV tourism in Nova Scotia is being crippled by the ban and the accompanying reputation of being 'RV unfriendly'. According to survey evidence, removing the ban could increase RV tourism in the Province by up to 83%. Such an increase would result in an extra 906 person-years of employment annually for the Nova Scotia economy, and generate $6.3 million in Provincial and $1.4 million in municipal tax revenues. The private campground sector, which the ban is intended to protect, would would likely benefit by its removal, with as many as 98,000 additional short-term nights sold per year.

In the United States and Canada one-half or more of all RVers spend at least one night per year in a parking lot. According to the survey results, 9% of RV-nights, on average, are spent in a parking lot. These occur primarily while RVers are traveling. The most prominent reasons for overnighting in a parking lot are: to be near shopping / services, easy to find, and no camping in area. Ninety-eight percent of surveyed RVers say they practice 'RV etiquette guidelines' (i.e. unobtrusively park not camp) when staying in a parking lot. RVers are generally critical of laws that ban overnighting in parking lots. Of the surveyed RVers 51% would have reduced desire to visit an area that prohibits RVers from staying overnight in parking lots, and 30% would boycott the area. The negative reaction was even stronger regarding the ban in Nova Scotia.

As part of the analyses the report investigates the travel and other characteristics of RVers, collecting information from a number of sources. These characteristics are important for businesses and governments to know when marketing to RVers. Three types of RVers are looked at: 'Vacationers' (who spend 2 or fewer months per year RVing), 'long-termers ' (3 to 11 months), and 'full-timers'. Although one-half of the 9 million RVs in the United States and Canada are used by 'vacationers', they account for only 12% of all RV-nights. Long-termers and full-timers comprise 88% of RV-nights and consequently a similar proportion of the RVer services market. Further, this group is generally older (nearly one-half 60 years or older), and very seldom RV with children.

The report also examines the impact of excessive government standards, particularly in Nova Scotia, imposed on private campgrounds that stifle innovation and new investment, and limit the available variety of RV accommodation.


The full report is about 110 printed pages, and too long to view as an web document. You are invited to Download a PDF version.

Your Download Options Are:
(click on link below)

  1. Revised Report, March 14, 2006, EXCLUDING tables of comments by survey respondnents - 70 pages, 295 KB.

  2. Revised Comments by Survey Respondents - 41 pages, 219 KB.

  3. Survey form - 2 pages, 54 KB.