The 59th annual Toronto International Boat Show saw all signs of positive growth for the boating industry with a nearly 10 percent increase in attendance from 70,643 last year to 77,105 attendees in 2017 over the show’s 10-day run – Jan. 20 to 29 – marking one of the highest-attended shows in the past five years.
Marine manufacturers and retailers regard the Toronto Boat Show as the economic bellwether for the boating industry. Demand for exhibitor space for the 2017 show quickly sold out, packing over a million square feet of the Enercare Centre.
“The show delivered its largest and most comprehensive advertising and marketing plan across the province, and exhibitors reaped the rewards with not only double-digit attendance growth over the first half of the show, but also with quality attendees who were eager to spend,” said Cynthia Hare, show manager for the event.
Pete Moreau of Central Marine, dealer for Stanley, Rinker, Worldcat and Godfrey/Hurricane, said “This has been a record breaking show for us. There hasn’t been enough hours in the day to write up all the deals we have been closing!”
“The traffic flow, interest and quality of the customer made for an outstanding show. Customers came ready to buy, resulting in very strong sales,” added Bill Swift of Swift Canoe and Kayak.
Exhibitors across all sectors – from kayaks, powerboats and sailboats – reported sales that surpassed expectations and strong leads heading into the summer season. The growth in attendance and consumer spending could be contributed to later show dates this year, which gave patrons more time to recover from the holidays, paired with mild winter temperatures that put seasoned and new boaters in the mood to get out on the waters.
This year, the Toronto Boat Show provided extensive programming and education for all levels of boaters and interests – from on-water pedal board demos to discover water sports and hands-on skills training – and more than 250 free seminars and workshops to empower and excite new visitors to get into the boating lifestyle.
2018 will mark the 60th anniversary of the Toronto International Boat Show, which will run Jan. 12 to 21, 2018 at Enercare Centre.