St. Petersburg show reports attendance boost

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With four consecutive days of sunny skies, the 34th annual St. Petersburg Power & Sailboat Show wrapped up Sunday with an 18 percent increase in overall attendance, according to Show Management chief financial officer Ricardo Strul.

"I think it was a great show in terms of attendance," he told Soundings Trade Only this morning. "On Saturday we were really beating the numbers by double digits."

The show, which is held at the Progress Energy Center for the Arts, Mahaffey Theater Yacht Basin and Albert Whitted Park in St. Petersburg, consisted of boats both in the water and on the hard. The show got off to a healthy start Thursday with a 25 percent increase in new boats and exhibitor revenue up about 8 percent, said Efrem “Skip” Zimbalist III, chairman and chief executive of Active Interest Media, the parent company of Show Management, which produces the show. AIM also owns Soundings and Soundings Trade Only.

The mood among exhibitors and show-goers was upbeat, Zimbalist said. "People have been depriving themselves," he said. "They want a new boat, and they've been holding off on buying."

The number of new powerboats from 20 to 50 feet was up by about 20 percent, according to Strul. A Hatteras 68 convertible offered by the Tom George Yacht Group of Dunedin, Fla., was the largest boat at the show.

This marks the fourth year sailboats have been part of the St. Petersburg show. More than 25 sailboats from 33 to 50 feet were shown, Strul said. And more than 60 seminars were held during the show. Show-goers were able to navigate the show with Show Management's free MyBoatShow app for the iPhone/iPad and Android platforms.

— Chris Landry