NMMA president predicts blockbuster boat show season

CHICAGO, Ill. – After a record-breaking Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) President Thom Dammrich told Boating Industry that he anticipates continued success for the boat show season.

Predictions that this year’s Fort Lauderdale show would break records in attendance, sales and economic impact came true for show producers, as Kay Pearson reported earlier this week that preliminary numbers for attendance was up 10 – 11 percent daily from last. Early sales reports also boasted numbers over $600 million, an indicator for the show’s overwhelming success.

Factors contributing to show’s success may have included an increase in the buying public’s confidence and what Dammrich said were the lowest interest rates in 45 years.

"Consumer confidence is on the rebound as demonstrated by the 4-percent increase in September, the economy is clearly getting much stronger…" said Dammrich.

Dammrich went so far as to suggest that the economy is in "full recovery," noting a third quarter GDP growth of over 7 percent.

"Though this growth level is not sustainable," added Dammrich, "it is clearly a positive sign. …The positives for the economy and consumer spending are overwhelmingly positive and I think that bodes well for a very strong 2004 and 2004 boat show season."

With what Dammrich predicts will be a "blockbuster show season," he advised exhibitors to be prepared. "They need to have a plan and a goal," he explained. Those who "plan the best will achieve the best results."

In addition, Dammrich added, dealers who seek success in this year’s boat show season will need to have product.

"Boat builders are beginning to establish production backlogs again and those who are too cautious will miss the great opportunity 2004 is going to provide," he stated.

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