Survey Shows Outdoor Recreation Continued To Fall In May

An updated Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR) member survey, in partnership with the Oregon State University Outdoor Recreation Economy Initiative, finds that the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the outdoor recreation industry continued to worsen throughout the month of May. More companies faced declining sales and revenue, difficulties with production and distribution, and large numbers of furloughs and layoffs. In some cases, outdoor businesses are being forced to close their doors for good. This is the second time ORR has surveyed its member trade associations, which represent over 100,000 RVing, camping, boating, fishing, horseback, hunting, skiing, hiking, biking businesses and more, about the impacts their member companies have experienced since the pandemic began.

According to the US Census Bureau, which measured COVID-19 impacts on small businesses, 75 percent of small businesses in the category that includes recreation are reporting large and negative effects. Overall, this category has been hit 31 percent harder than the national average, making the industry the second most affected sector in the country behind ‘food and accommodation’ – (U.S. Census Bureau Small Business Pulse Survey). While some jobs return in specific sectors, many are in restaurants, buffered by stimulus, with their durability in question as states reopen and nationwide COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

Although the impacts have been unprecedented, more Americans than ever understand the value of outdoor activity. Swift action from Congress coupled with measures to protect Americans against the spread of the virus will help recreation come out of this and allow the outdoor recreation economy to do what it does best – revitalize communities, create jobs, support public health, improve quality of life and provide access to amazing outdoor experiences for generations to come.