MAATS attracts 20 percent more buyers

LAS VEGAS – The fourth annual Marine Aftermarket Accessories Trade Show came to a close yesterday, having attracted over 300 buyers, a 20-percent increase over last year’s event, according to the organizer, the National Marine Manufacturers Association.

The number of buyer/supplier meetings held at MAATS was also up, from 1070 last year to 1128 this year. In addition, the S.T.E.P. show, held directly before MAATS, included 651 meetings for a total of 1,783 between the two events. International meetings grew 300 percent this year, from 53 to 158, according to NMMA.

Less than ideal dates may mean final attendance numbers will be flat or only slightly up over last year, predicted show organizers today. However, most exhibitors reported that their success at the show has only grown over the years, and this year was no exception. Approximately 72 percent of exhibitors participated in the buyer/supplier meetings this year, and participation appeared to have a direct link to their satisfaction with the event.

For the first time, the show had an exhibitor waiting list this year, with 295 exhibitors making it onto the floor of the show, held at the Las Vegas Hilton. Next year, MAATS will move its show floor to the Las Vegas Convention Center, next door to the Hilton, adding space for 150 more booths.

The dates of the next three MAATS events will also be moved back to accommodate accessory manufacturers and distributors who are in favor of a later start date. MAATS 2005 won’t begin until the third week of July.

“I don’t know that anyone would say the third week in July is ideal, but it works for everyone,” said Thom Dammrich, NMMA president, in a recent interview.

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