Baby boomers flush with cash and a persistent wanderlust are flocking to Lee County’s recreational vehicle parks in record numbers.

For a crippled economy, the revival of the RV industry with the hundreds of millions of dollars it brings to Southwest Florida comes at a good time.

In 2009, about 37,000 RV and campground users in Lee County poured $228 million into the local economy — an increase of 35 percent over 2008. It’s the only area of tourism that grew over the prior year, according to the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau.

From December 2009 through March, RVers added $123 million to the local economy.

The days of “trailer trash” are over, said Linda Profaizer, president and CEO of the National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds. “That’s old, historic thinking. Today’s parks are upscale and filled with people who have been successful in life.”

Lee County’s 79 RV resorts – home for a few days or year round for residents – also contribute almost $300,000 annually to Lee’s tax base from license fees. They add a portion of an estimated $25 million to the county’s bed tax, which is used for beach renourishment and tourism promotion.

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