Organizers of the 54th Annual Louisville Boat, RV & Sportshow — which included 225 vendors and 300,000 square feet of space — said attendance was strong and expected to reach 40,000, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported.
“RV manufacturers have struggled in recent years, and some have gone out of business,” said Kim Muncy, manager of the show which ended on Sunday (Jan. 30). “But all of our winter shows since January have seen higher attendance.”
While some were there to buy — several $200,000 to $400,000 RVs were sold, organizers said — many were there to dream. Inside the cavernous space of the Kentucky Exposition Center, families tried out ski boats, with children opening each door as their parents examined brochures.
John and Joyce Wilson, who came from Worthville, Ky., said they were looking to upgrade the 1999 32-foot camper that they’d taken to Mount Rushmore. They said they loved the shiny new trailers they were touring. But despite dreams of an RV retirement, rising gas prices had them thinking twice.
“Ours gets about nine miles to the gallon, and I don’t think many of these do much better,” John Wilson said.
Muncy said that for boat and RV manufacturers the recession hit sales of mid-range campers and boats, which are priced from around $24,000 to $35,000, harder than the more expensive models. But she said those mid-range sales were beginning to bounce back.
That was echoed at the sales desk of Tom Stinnett RV, based in Clarksville, Ind., where manager Deanna Craft said show sales were looking promising.
“This is the busiest it’s been in three years,” she said. “Everyone is looking better.”