Jacksonville, Fla., RV dealers say the positive feedback that’s coming from last week’s Florida RV SuperShow in Tampa, coupled with strong sales of recreational vehicles locally the last quarter of 2012, are pointing toward a strong showing at the upcoming Jacksonville RV MegaShow.
The Florida Times-Union reported that the Jacksonville Equestrian Center will play host to the four-day event a third consecutive year. The show opens Thursday (Feb. 7) and runs through Sunday.
Tom Tibbitts, regional president of the host Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA), says the group expects to attract about 7,000 visitors to the show — about 1,000 more attendees than last year.
“I talked to one dealer at the Tampa show who said his sales were up nearly 35% from last year,” Tibbitts said. “Based on the response there, I’m expecting we’ll have a lot more interest and a bigger turnout at our show this year. Based on everything we’re hearing, the RV industry appears to be making a rebound.”
This will be the 28th year the FRVTA’s Region 6 has sponsored the event in Jacksonville. Tibbitts believes the show should feel the momentum established in Tampa.
“Attendance was up and sales of RVs were strong, primarily because of excellent attendance and RV pricing by individual dealers,” he said. “And the aftermarket vendors reported excellent exposure to their merchandise, campgrounds and services compared to 2012.”
A potentially more telling sign is the fact that additional campsites had to be found at the Florida State Fairgrounds where the event was held.
“Based on our experience this year in Tampa, I think the retail public waiting in the wings for the economy to recover aren’t going to sit back anymore,” said Lance Wilson, FRVTA executive director.
Wilson notes that his industry looks to sales in Florida, and specifically the Tampa SuperShow, as the “bellwether” for the year’s RV sales nationwide. Based on attendance, which could reach 55,000 once all the numbers are in, 2013 is shaping up to be a better-than-expected year in RV sales.
“The most important thing for us this year is that no people showed up with agendas on taxes or gas prices,” Wilson said. “They looked at a lot of product and made a lot of decisions. Financing was available and the price was right. Everything looks good heading into our biggest season.”
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