Participants in the 14th annual Southern Louisiana Boat, Sport and RV show do not have exact figures, but contend that events like the three-day program that opens Friday (Jan. 13) at the Houma-Terrebonne Civic Center spur a launch of activity for the season and set the stage for increased sales in an industry that has experienced losses during the past two years.
“The shows represent an opportunity for participating dealers to come in contact with a lot of people in a short period of time,” BAC Enterprises spokesman Bart Caple told the Tri-Parish Times.
As producer of the Houma show, Caple said this event would feature inventory from 55 vendors displaying 119 brands of recreational vehicles and 29 brands of boats from the most basic models to luxury vehicles and vessels. “Dixie RV in Hammond has motorhomes that retail for $500,000,” he said.
The boating and recreational vehicle industries have been hard hit during the past two years with an overall decrease in sales following a lagging economy. Experts in the field believe that tide is about to turn.
While high dollar luxury units are on display during most boat and sport shows, Dagates Marine salesman Ricky LeBlanc said that family recreation and sports fishing vessels are the ones that attract more exact sales. “Those big boats over $100,000 look great but nobody actually buys them,” he said. “Or not enough people buy them.”
Caple said it is difficult to know how much local dealers benefit from RV and boat shows, but noted that it must be worth their time and investment as more do register to participate each year.
“This is a good time of year for boat and sport shows,” LeBlanc said. “We are not extremely busy right now, but the show will make us extremely busy. We get hooked up at the show and stay busy all the way through Christmas. We really don’t know how much percentage wise come in months after the show, but it is a lot. They might not have been ready to buy at the show but later on they are ready.”
Hours for the Southern Louisiana Boat, Sport and RV show are 1-8 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.