Reports coming out of the Victoria Boat and Fishing Show held this past weekend at the Pearkes Recreational Centre in Victoria, BC has been positive from both organizers and exhibitors. The annual event organized by Canwest Productions Inc., Calgary, AB, featured nearly 40 boats on display and attracted a total reported attendance of approximately 7,500 visitors.
"Our local boat exhibitors did quite well this year,' says Kevin Blackburn, Show Director. "Our attendance was pretty much on par compared to last year. However, we had quite a crowd of good qualified buyers coming through. I think the boating business is back on its way up again and we're excited about it.'
The event, which includes 30,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor exhibit space, added several new features this year including an air-gun shooting range, new free seminars and additional boats on display.
Sherwood Marine in Victoria, BC brought 12 rigged boats and half-a-dozen inflatables to its booth space this year. "The quality of people was exceptional,' describes Sherwood Marine's Manager, Keith Karlsson. "People were ready to get back out on the water. Normally we bring accessories to the show, but this year we decided to have a boat-only focus. We brought a mixture of watercraft including Thunderjet, Hewescraft, Arima, Chaparral and Striper. We try to bring a mix of boats to the show so that people can get a flavour of what we sell. The response was good. We took deposits at the show and several since as well. Measuring the show generally requires a few weeks but I'd say based on where we're at already this show eclipses anything I've seen in the last three or four years.'
Jay James, Marine Sales Manager for SG Power in Victoria, BC, says his dealership brought 10 boats to the show this year including aluminum and fibreglass models. "We doubled our boat sales from last year,' says James. "I think everyone is realizing that the sky isn't falling. This whole February has been great for us. For next year, I'd love more boat show-only incentives from the manufacturers to create more urgency to buy. Glastron and EZ Loader Trailers had incentives for us and that really helped. When you have a boat listed at $40,000 on your lot, they want to see it for $37,000 at the show.'
Next year's Victoria Boat and Fishing Show is scheduled for February 22 to 24 inclusive.