FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Attendance at this year’s Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show was up about 1 percent after a strong start followed by a dip over the weekend, according to Efrem “Skip” Zimbalist, chairman and CEO of the company that owns show producer Show Management.
“Compared to last year, attendance was up 10 percent-plus through Friday,” Zimbalist said in a statement. “We had a small dip in ‘family’ attendance on Saturday and Sunday with Monday about even. Overall, attendance was up 1 percent.”
Zimbalist said he was pleasantly surprised when advance sales were going strong a couple of weeks before the show. In addition, he said crowds on the first two days show that visitors weren’t just casual shoppers looking for a weekend outing.
“The Thursday and Friday strong showing indicates serious buyers attended the show,” Zimbalist said.
The show does not release overall attendance numbers for competitive reasons. However, some boat builders shared their numbers.
Everglades, which manufactures luxury offshore and inshore boats, said in a release that it retailed 14 boats during the show. The company said that outpaced retail sales from the previous year, and it was hopeful that other sales would still transpire in the weeks following the event.
In addition, the company confirmed more wholesale orders through the appointment of two new dealers, Plantation Boat Mart in Tavernier Key, Fla., and Boaters Warehouse in Port Clinton, Ohio.
Everglades said that positive retail and wholesale activity gave it a solid basis to plan for additional 2010 manufacturing, and it was anticipating a gradual increase in production in the coming weeks.
Skip Braver, president and CEO of Cigarette Racing Team, said in a release that this was the best Ft. Lauderdale Boat Shows in years. The company sold a new 39 Top Fish Open center console on the first day of the show, and said that an international following at the show helped boost its sales, with dealers, customers and media from France, Germany and Italy in attendance.
Zimbalist also commented on the show’s strong international clientele this year.
“We saw an excellent mix from the international front including visitors from Russia, Middle East, Europeans and Central/South America,” he said.