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Houston show runs through Sunday

The 61st annual Houston International Boat, Sport & Travel Show opened Monday.

The 61st annual Houston International Boat, Sport & Travel Show, one of the longest-running boat shows and the largest indoor boat show in the country, opened Monday at the NRG Center with dealers echoing a common theme: Low gas prices and interest rates are boosting boat sales.

Show president Ken Lovell said there are two main reasons that low gas prices affect boat sales. He said that when fuel becomes more affordable it leaves consumers with more disposable income to buy a boat or even a second boat, and after they buy a boat they can use it a lot more.

“Gas prices are always a consideration to the boat owner,” Lovell said in a statement. “Since boating is a hobby for most of our buyers, they’re a lot more motivated when prices are low.”

Lovell said low interest rates also are prompting people to buy a boat if they plan to finance.

An increase in boat sales typically brings a boost in some sectors of the local economy, he said. “There are thousands of jobs in the Houston area that are connected to recreational boating,” Lovell said. “Marinas, waterfront restaurants and so many other types of businesses depend on a healthy recreational boating market.”

More than 75,000 people are expected to attend the show, where they’ll see powerboats, pontoon boats, luxury cruisers, fishing boats, kayaks and personal watercraft, as well as a selection of campers and travel trailers. The event will continue through Sunday.

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