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Inaugural Panama show reports strong attendance

Weekend crowds eager to see the latest boats, yachts and marine gear from leading manufacturers and local dealers surpassed goals set by show organizers and many exhibitors at the inaugural Panama International Boat Show, which took place June 20-22 at Flamenco Marina near downtown Panama City.

"We exceeded our goal of 50 boats and 50 booths, with 53 boats and 58 exhibitors," Efrem "Skip" Zimbalist III, CEO of Show Management, the show's producer, said in a statement. Active Interest Media owns Show Management and Soundings Trade Only. "Attendance was strong, particularly on the weekend and during afternoons and evenings, and exceeded the first year for other similar shows we produce."

"We were very pleased with the turnout at the first Panama boat show," said Lou Sola of Evermarine, an exhibitor at the show representing Benetti, Azimut, Bertram, Tiara and Boston Whaler. "We had three displays at the show and interest was so strong on Saturday that we ended up running out of staff to greet all the people who came out.We had a very good display, and it was wonderful to show everyone what we do on a daily basis."

Excitement surrounding the show even drew a visit from Panamanian President and yacht owner Ricardo Martinelli, who had recently bought a 105-foot Azimut from Evermarine, said Show Management senior vice president and COO Andrew Doole.

“He’s looking forward to retirement soon to use his boat, purchased from Evermarine Yacht Sales,” Doole told Trade Only.

Martinelli’s presence drew throngs of people to the dealer’s booth, Doole said.

In addition to the exhibition of boats in the water and on land, marine accessories and services, attendees enjoyed an air-conditioned cocktail lounge with a live feed to World Cup soccer each day.

All of the exhibit space on land and in tents was sold out, Doole said.

“We’ve also got a good number of boats in the water,”he said.“So we’re happy and proud of this show. We’ve got boats in the water that range from 30 to a couple hundred feet. So it’s a good cross-section, and a lot of sportfish boats.”

There was also a car display featuring the latest models from Mercedes-Benz, Dodge, Jeep, Range Rover, Ford and Volkswagen.

"This great event culminated with resounding success," said Jorge Asmar, commercial manager of passenger vehicles atAutoStar Panama. "We were pleased to introduce and sell our Mercedes-Benz, Jeep and Dodge vehicles, and proudto have sponsored the show."

The show, designed to encourage participation in boating and fishing, featured fishing clinics for children and adults on Saturday and Sunday hosted by the Navegante TV Fishing Team.Sessions included knot tying, fish handling, local fishing seasons and local fishing locations.

The show was produced by Show Management, presented by Mercedes-Benz and sponsored by Visit Panama, Flamenco Marina, Fuerte Amador Resort & Marina, Panama Fishing Magazine, MedCom, Navegante TV, Cable Onda, BoatShowHotels.com, Grupo Evenfer and the AIM Marine Group.

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