Thursday, May 19, 2022

Tourism: bad investment?

My area of northern New Hampshire has bet heavily on tourism. We still have the old stuff: hiking, fishing, hunting, canoeing, tenting  and all that. In recent years our area has invested heavily in ADV trail riding, mostly 4 wheelers. There are hundreds of miles of trails, new RV campgrounds, and businesses catering to the off road crowd. 

That might have been a mistake. 

At the time I’m writing this gasoline is about $4.50/gallon and diesel is going for $6.09/gallon. If you are driving a few hundred miles in big truck that’s got to hurt. Figure in reduced fuel economy from towing a trailer full of gas burning 4 wheelers and it’s an expensive weekend. You need an upper class income for a middle class activity. 

One can only imagine that tourism across the board is going to take a hit. The RV industry had crazy growth during the pandemic. Prices went insane. Investment companies took note and bought heavily into the craze. Mom and pop campgrounds sold out to big, highly leveraged, companies. 

Tourism has always been sensitive to fuel prices. I’m old enough to have seen the boom and bust cycle a few times. If my lovely wife and I go camping this winter, it will definitely be scaled down. We will leave the sailboat and tow vehicle that gets 14 mpg behind. Instead we’ll throw a tent and inflatable kayak in the economy car that gets close to 40 mpg. 

I don’t expect prices to come down anytime soon. Once again: interesting times.



  1. Sounds like a perfect opportunity for a big solar farm and some off-road EVs.

    1. That could work. I know they make off-road EVs but I've never seen one. No idea how practical they are. Maybe the business model would involve renting them? That way they could be charged at a central station and nobody would need a huge tow vehicle. Cool idea, but would certainly take deep pockets to make it work.

    2. They are just as practical as gas vehicles. Except using electricity for fuel. Less things to break too. You run out of juice in either vehicle and you are just as stranded. Yeh, it would take a fair investment, but the rest of the world is already headed in that direction. Yer buddy Elon might have a few spare $.

    3. I think the quiet would be pretty good. Plenty of chances to see wildlife.