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Organizers release Miami show numbers

Despite a drop in attendance at this year’s Miami International Boat Show, organizers say it was a success in terms of the quality of buyers and the overall mood of exhibitors and customers.

“I’m getting some really positive feedback. The quality of the customers seemed to be really good,” Cathy Rick-Joule, show manager and vice president of southern shows for the National Marine Manufacturers Association, told Soundings Trade Only this morning.

Attendance at this year’s Miami International Boat Show and Strictly Sail Miami fell 26 percent, to 96,736 from 130,496 in 2008. However, Rick-Joule said most of those who came to the show were already financed and knew what they wanted to buy.

“At the end of the day, that’s what it’s really all about,” she said. “We moved some boats … and that’s really, really important, especially now.”

This year’s show, which ended its five-day run Monday, featured 2,800 new boats and more than 1,000 accessory exhibitors. Rick-Joule said that’s about on par with last year’s event, although some exhibitors scaled down their displays and the size of their spaces. The upside to that, she said, is it allowed NMMA to accommodate some companies that had been waiting a long time to increase their show space.

Another positive note coming from the show, Rick-Joule added, is that exhibitors sensed a more positive attitude among customers. They said many consumers are starting to feel more encouraged and hopeful about the new president and the federal stimulus package.

Rick-Joule said her staff is already gearing up for the 2010 show, scheduled for Feb. 11-15.

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