In news that could be a sign of good things to come for the European market, attendance for the first five days of the nine-day Caravan Salon Dusseldorf 2009 in Dusseldorf, Germany, was up 6.2% over last year.

About 93,800 people — up from 88,300 — attended the show Saturday (Aug. 29) through Wednesday at the sprawling Messe Dusseldorf (Dusseldorf Fairgrounds). The show runs through Sunday.

”Up to now attendance is very good,” said Ralph Binder, public relations director for Caravaning Industrie Verband (CIVD), Frankfurt, Germany, the European counterpart to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) in the U.S. ”We had a little bit of fear it would be worse than last year. If we are lucky, we will reach 160,000 through the weekend.”

Last year, 158,000 people from 38 counties attended Caravan Salon, which is billed as the world’s largest RV show.

Although the European RV industry is experiencing some of the same problems as the U.S. RV sector, all major European RV manufacturers are displaying product at Carvan Salon.

Some 580 companies from 25 countries — 150 that build towable and motorized “caravans” and “motor caravans” — are showing products and promoting services in 10 halls and a large outside courtyard encompassing 1.9 million square feet.

Through June, European RV sales during the first half of the year fell 42% to 32,796 units — 12,101 motorized RVs and 20,695 towables — compared to the same period in 2008, according to CIVD.