The 56th Annual Houston International Boat, Sport & Travel Show, which wrapped up Sunday at Reliant Center, reports better than expected attendance in the wake of a first-time forced shutdown and widespread flooding.
The show, the largest of its kind in the country, was required to shut its doors during its first Saturday of operation due to the NFL playoff game at Reliant Stadium (adjacent to Reliant Center). In addition, torrential rains and flood waters in Houston the following Monday prevented consumers, and even exhibitors, from getting to the show.
Houston Boat Show President Ken Lovell credits publicity regarding the first-ever shutdown of the show for the playoff game for a more than 15% boost in attendance the following day, Sunday, over the same day last year.
Lovell says, “Considering all the obstacles we faced this year, we did really well. Not surprisingly, overall attendance was not where we wanted it to be, but when you have to shut down for one day and then you deal with major flooding two days later, this is to be expected.”
Lovell points out that according to the dealers, sales were steady despite the lower attendance numbers. He says attendees were in a buying mood, and dealers are cautiously optimistic about a stronger 2012 boating season.
The Houston Boat Show featured more than a thousand powerboats, luxury cruisers, fishing boats, personal watercraft, campers, and travel trailers, as well as everything imaginable for the outdoors—from resort getaways and fishing guides to waterski and wakeboard accessories, patio furniture, clothing, jewelry and art.