Toronto boat show attendance down slightly

TORONTO, Ontario – The annual Toronto International Boat Show saw an increase in first-time boaters, a renewed feeling of confidence from attendees and selling trends indicate that consumers are moving up to larger boats, according to the show producers.

Despite heavy snowfalls on both Saturdays, motivated buyers meant minimal impact on overall show sales, the official show report said. Total attendance this year was 72,580, down 3 percent from 2010. The show took place on Jan. 8-16.

“People came prepared to purchase this year, no doubt about it,” said Andy Blenkarn, Desmasdons Boatworks in Pointe Au Baril. “The consumer is arriving at the show more educated, having done his or her research on the Internet. They come to the show to get a little more information, and then make their decision. We wrote more deals than usual on the first weekend, setting us up for the entire show. We’re set up for our best year ever.”

Linda Waddell, show director, described the results as consistent across most product segments of the industry. “We were very pleased that exhibitors had such a strong show. We’ve continued to focus on investing in our strategic marketing and features plan, to ensure we’re delivering the attendees the industry needs,” she said. “The feedback we received was the most positive in the last 5-7 years, a very good sign for the industry’s future.”

Dates for the 2012 show are Jan. 14 – 22, and the return of the Special Preview Night Jan. 13.

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