Yacht sales firms sign marketing agreement

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Sarasota Yacht & Ship Services reached an agreement with Leigh-Smith Cruiser Sales, a long-established Australian-based brokerage firm, to create an international marketing alliance.

The international yacht sales firms agreed to market one another's services in their respective markets in an effort to expand their market reach by creating greater international exposure.

"In 2009, the U.S. economic decline resulted in a 9 percent decrease in sales from the previous year for the recreational boating industry. With the more developed boating countries approaching market saturation, brokerage firms like ours are looking for new customers," said Gary Smith, senior partner at Sarasota Yacht & Ship.

Countries such as India, South Korea and Vietnam have started to pick up the slack from U.S. consumers, Smith said, adding that emerging markets offer the best opportunity for long-term growth and prosperity in the marine industry.

"As their buying power increases, U.S. boats are becoming more appealing by offering a wide variety of boat models at bargain prices," he said. "Back in 2003, the U.S. was actually importing $10.5 million more recreational boats from Australia than it was exporting. However, recent estimates show a complete reversal in trade flow, as the U.S. is now experiencing a trade surplus of over $75 million, making Australia the second-largest export market for the U.S. boating industry."

"We are excited about this opportunity to take two of the highest-respected yacht sales firms in the world to a whole new level," Barry Bailey, international sales manager for Leigh-Smith, said in a statement. "We are entrenched in Australia, New Zealand, Japan and many parts of Asia. Sarasota Yacht & Ship has the same level of success in the U.S. and European markets. The global outreach for both companies will now be outstanding."

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