Vancouver International Boat Show battles elements with sales, attendance

The 56th annual Vancouver International Boat Show came to an end on Sunday, Jan. 21, forecasting yet another strong year for the boating industry in the province.

Western Canada’s largest boat show’s attendance numbers at both the indoor show at BC Place and the Floating Show at Granville Island are reported at 28,739 at the 2018 show, compared to 30,435 from the previous year.

“Despite the extreme weather warnings for heavy rain and high winds over the weekend, which caused considerable challenges for guests to attend, all indications over the five days suggest that a strong year lies ahead for the recreational marine industry in BC,” said Eric Nicholl, show manager of the Vancouver International Boat Show. “The addition of The Pavilion to our indoor venue at BC Place, and expanded marina display at Granville Island, made this year’s show the biggest on record. With the trends we are seeing, it appears that the fast-approaching boating season will be a strong one.”

Advance tickets, and online E-ticket sales, were the highest recorded in show history, up 12 percent from 2017, however the redemption rate reflected that over 1,100 E-tickets were not redeemed onsite due to weather-related challenges.

Metro Vancouver experienced extreme weather alerts issued by Environment Canada on several show days, including severe rain and high winds; BC Ferries was also forced to cancel several sailings due to dangerous conditions, and numerous areas surrounding the City of Vancouver suffered power outages throughout the weekend.

Despite the less than ideal conditions, the attendance remained steady with serious buyers and strong sales reported by the majority of exhibitors.

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“The 2018 Show has been outstanding. Our new products have gone over very well and received a lot of attention, including the new 46-foot Sundancer and Chris Craft product line,” said Bob Pappajohn, president of M&P Mercury Sales Ltd.

“The first four days of the Boat Show were exceptional, with lots of local buyers looking for the latest products,” said Salim Ladha, senior vice president and partner at Steveston Marine & Hardware. “The B.C. market is looking very strong for marine products going into 2018.”

With over 125 combined speakers and presentations, visitors found that there was truly something for everyone at this year’s Vancouver International Boat Show.

Dates for the 57th Vancouver International Boat Show are scheduled for Jan. 16 - 20, 2019. at BC Place and Granville Island.

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