Vendors at the Moncton Coliseum boat show were surprised to see such a strong turnout Saturday at the trade show which can be big business for the city.
In a statement provided to Global News on Friday, the city’s director of corporate communications, Isabelle LeBlanc, called trade shows a “strong economic engine” for Moncton.
“Prior to the pandemic, trade shows at the Moncton Coliseum brought in $8 million in economic benefits for Moncton and $11.5 million for the province,” she said in the release, noting that several other shows professionals are planned for the next few months.
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Boat salesman Ronnie MacDougall said that although the future looked uncertain for the boating industry at the start of the pandemic, “surprisingly, in a good way, boat sales took off”.
“I would say (sales were) 40% higher than our best years due to product demand,” MacDougall said in an interview Saturday.
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He said that even if the restrictions had allowed it, it would have been nearly impossible to hold a trade show in 2021 due to the combination of ongoing supply chain issues and the growing number of people looking for a boat as a sure cure for lockdown-induced cabin fever. .
“For the manufacturers, they can’t manufacture for the boats that are sold, the demand is so high,” he said.
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MacDougall said the roughly 15% increase he’s seen in boat prices over the past year and a half hasn’t stifled demand.
Boaters like Margaret Young consider it money well spent.
She was at the show looking for a small boat to go fishing with her therapy dog and said she’s been boating more often during the pandemic.
“It takes the stress away, it always does. It helps you see that there is a future,” she said Saturday.
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