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NMMA reports stronger boat show season

The National Marine Manufacturers Association said today that 70 percent of its winter boat and sport shows saw an increase in attendance and that the others remained flat or were down by single digits.

Many exhibitors across the NMMA shows reported sales increases from last year, strong leads and more attendees looking to make a purchase this year, the association said.

"Increases in attendance and reports of strong sales at shows reinforce notions of pent-up demand and the beginning of an industry recovery in 2011 and into 2012," said Ben Wold, executive vice president of NMMA boat and sportshows, in a statement.

"In addition to positive economic conditions and decent weather, NMMA's aggressive marketing efforts, the NMMA Advantage and new show attractions were just a few of the ways we worked to drive attendance," he added. "Now we'll analyze our efforts against results to develop even more ways to improve our shows and ensure we continue producing valuable shows for exhibitors and attendees."

The NMMA produced 14 shows this year and attendance increased at 10 of them: Nashville Boat & Sportshow (5 percent); Atlanta Boat Show (1 percent); Kansas City Boat & Sportshow (7 percent); Minneapolis Boat Show (26 percent); Louisville Boat, RV & Sportshow (9 percent); Strictly Sail Chicago (2 percent); Atlantic City Boat Show (114 percent); St. Louis Boat & Sportshow (9 percent); Miami International Boat Show; (12 percent) and New England Boat Show (5 percent).

The other four shows had flat attendance or saw single-digit declines: The Baltimore Boat Show broke even with 2010 attendance; the Chicago Boat, RV & Outdoors Show was down 7 percent; the New York Boat Show was down 6 percent; and Strictly Sail Miami was down 8 percent, compared with 2009.

The Northwest Sportshow, which is scheduled for March 30-April 3, closes out the NMMA's show season.

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