Organizers tout Australian show results

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Thousands of serious boat buyers braved Melbourne’s damp and chilly weather to make some major purchases at the 2013 BIA Melbourne Boat Show, which began Friday and ended on Monday.

Organizers said the four-day Australian show was the living embodiment of “quality over quantity,” with exhibitors reporting sales similar to those of a good five-day show. Total attendance was 27,261 for the four days.

Steven Gill, general manager of the Boating Industry Association of Victoria, said in a statement that the turnout was a testament to the resolve of Victoria’s serious boaters.

“It really was the sort of weather when most people would rather snuggle up in front of the fire, but serious boaties were not deterred,” he said. “Our patron surveys showed a very strong presence of people who attend every year and our exhibitor surveys showed they were there to shop. Although it takes a couple of months to be sure of the final sales result, exhibitors were very pleased with the combination of leads and actual sales.”

Gill said show patrons were just as interested in accessories, information and entertainment as they were in boats, berths and fishing gear.

“Part of the attraction for serious shoppers was the wealth of new models this year, with dozens of new boats and plenty of new accessories and fishing gear,” Gill said. “All up, we had 493 boats this year, ranging from a few hundred dollars up to $380,000 and covering every imaginable type.”

Gill said the weather undoubtedly had an influence on the quality and quantity of patrons.

“There’s a sweet spot in terms of weather for any show and this weekend was a bit colder than ideal,” he said. “For an indoor boat show, the ideal weather is cool and damp — cold enough not to take the boat out, but mild enough for a nice day going to the show. With temperatures in the low teens [Celsius, which measures in the mid-60s Fahrenheit], we had plenty of serious shoppers, but fewer casual visitors.���

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