Vancouver Boat Show reports 24-percent attendance increase

Vancouver, B.C. – The 2004 Vancouver International Boat Show announced through a press release Friday that attendance at the five-day event (Feb. 4 – 8) was up 24 percent compared to 2003. Higher attendance – 37,481 people came to the show – coupled with enthusiastic spending resulted in an extremely strong event for exhibitors, the release said.

"Saturday was the biggest sales day in our history at the Vancouver show," said Aaron Fell, regional manager for Olympic Boat Centers. "There seemed to be a real injection of first time buyers at this show, more than we’ve ever seen before. We’re very happy with this year's results."

One key factor that may have stimulated increased sales was the combination of the strong Canadian dollar and low interest rates, creating a strong economic call-to-action that is expected to spark a record year for the Canadian boating industry.

"My soft goods sales were up 300 percent from last year," owner of Langley-based Performance Watersports, Craig Ross, said. "This was the best show in 15 years."

Industry excitement leading up to the show forced a total sellout of exhibit space on both the exhibit floor and marketplace areas of the show, the release said.

"We were in a waiting list situation several weeks prior to the show opening," show manager Linda Waddell said.

The head of the British Columbia Marine Trades Association, Chris Goulder, called the 2004 show an unqualified success.

The Vancouver Boat Show featured 250 exhibitors and is considered to be the unofficial "kick off" of the West Coast boating season, according to the release. The Vancouver Boat Show is often seen as the bell weather for the boating industry’s year. Judging by exhibitor reaction to the Show, 2004 is likely going to be an extremely strong year in the boating industry.

"This is the busiest show in years, absolutely fantastic. Business is up considerably and the Americans are coming back," said Bob Stevenson, of Desolation Sound Yacht Charters.

All combined, B.C.’s recreational boating industry now generates 1.439 billion in gross output to the province. On a national level, recreational boating resulted in gross output from Canadian sources of 11.5 billion. The boating industry, either directly or indirectly, employs over 14,995 full-time equivalent jobs in BC with 476 million in total labour force income. (As compiled in the Economic Impact Analysis of Recreational Boating in Canada report prepared for the industry by Goss Gilroy Inc.)

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