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FRVTA Readies for Crowds at 34th Tampa Show

December 14, 2018 by   Leave a Comment

Last Year’s Tampa SuperShow reported record attendance of 73,061

There’s an early sense from organizers that the Jan. 16-20 Florida RV SuperShow is poised to build on last year’s record attendance, which saw 73,061 RV enthusiasts pour through the gates at the Florida State Fairgrounds.

“Things certainly seem to be pointing toward a good show,” offered Lance Wilson, executive director for the host Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA), noting the 2019 show will mark the 34th running of the event. “The industry has been humming along for a number of years and all our fall shows did exceptionally well. Jacksonville set a record. The thought process is that the turnout for the SuperShow is going to be more of the same.”

According to Wilson, also factoring into the equation is the RV Industry Association’s (RVIA) decision to cancel its signature National RV Trade Show, annually held in late November at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville.

“You could see the effects at the Hershey Show,” Wilson told RVBUSINESS.com. “With Louisville gone, there is even more incentive for people to come to the Tampa Show. People want to see the latest and greatest products, and at the SuperShow they can see it all in one venue.

“The timing of the show is also important,” he added. “It leads into the spring and summer selling seasons. The show has always been extremely important to our members and to the industry as a whole. It’s generally regarded as a bellwether for how the industry is going to perform in the coming year.”

Lance Wilson

Addressing talk of an apparent slowdown in the industry, Wilson noted, “The winter months are our sweet spot. With regard to any type of a slowdown, we’re behind the curve. People are heading south in the winter. And with the type of weather we’ve been seeing up north this year, it’s pushing people to come to Florida a little earlier and stay a little later.”

That said, Wilson echoed the sentiments of every organizer overseeing a major industry event.

“We need five good days of weather, which is always an unknown in January. Last year we had good weather throughout the show. That makes a huge difference. Over the years weather has always been the main factor between a bad, good and great show.”

The 2019 edition of the Tampa SuperShow will follow the blue print of past shows, according to Wilson, as exhibit space will encompass 26 acres and around 1.2 million square feet.

“I can’t really pinpoint the total number of RVs that will be on display because the OEMs design how their exhibits will be configured,” Wilson said. “Some opt for more open space and others pack the RVs in. One thing we did do was confiscate some of our vendor parking and turned it into more exhibit space. I’d estimate there will be around 1,500 units on display if it’s in line with past shows.”

He added, “I can tell you that every manufacturer will be represented, including some new companies like Bigfoot RV and nüCamp RV. There’s going to be a lot of new, innovative product including smaller trailers, truck campers and a lot of campervans. There will also be 450 supplier booths at the indoor facility and in outdoor exhibits.”

FRVTA will again be hosting the “Super Rally,” which Wilson reported will accommodate around 850 coaches on the show grounds.

“It’s been sold out for some time,” he said. “Newmar participates and will have about 250 coach owners at the rally. Everybody gets free entrance into the show and there are also a lot of activities like coffee and donuts in the morning, entertainment in the evening and an ice cream social.

“The rally attendees are really a great bonus for our vendors. They’re always looking for something to add to their RVs and the dealers and suppliers love that.”

While a lot of RVs will be sold on site, Wilson emphasized that it wasn’t the primary purpose of the show.

“We draw a lot of people from all over the country and even RVers from Europe and Canada,” he said. “Sales are only a part of what takes place, because a lot of the people attend so they can look at all the RVs in one place. Then they go home and make a purchase. Our show really does have an impact on the market all over country.”

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