As the weather in the South improves, organizers expect an uptick in attendance at next week’s Florida RV Trade Association’s (FRVTA) 25th anniversary Florida RV SuperShow Jan. 13-17 at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa.
A possible factor: Freezing temperatures are anticipated overnight in the Tampa area through Sunday with forecasters predicting warmer daytimes at the beginning of the week.
“Starting on Tuesday we are supposed to be getting back to the mid-60s and sunny,” said Lance Wilson, executive director of the sponsoring FRVTA. ”Even if it’s cold, if the sun’s out, people have a better attitude.”
The show, an early bellwether for the 2010 winter show season, is expected to have more than 1,100 towable and motorized RVs on display. Tuesday (Jan. 12) will be a trade-only day.
Although FRVTA is continuing to sell show space, Wilson predicted that physically, the 2010 show will be 15% to 20% smaller than last year when more than 44,000 people attended.
“People (exhibitors) are buying a little less space, but putting more units into it,” he said. “There is a drop off in the size of the show, but not in the enthusiasm. We think there is pent-up demand out there and manufacturers and dealers think the same thing.
“Dealers are starting to see upticks on their lots, which gives them a good feeling going into the show.”
Just as last year, 40% of the units on display at the show will be allowed to be 2009 models. “Of the first 700 units registered, only 18 were 2009 units, so it isn’t that much of a deal,” Wilson said.
Attendance at earlier FRVTA-sponsored regional shows in Tampa, West Palm Beach and Fort Myers has been up 10% to 15% over last year, Wilson reported, although “sales have been good, but not great.”
“It’s a product of the economy and the availability of money, although we are starting to see some cracks,” Wilson said.
Wilson, meanwhile, said that national retail lenders are being pressured by more credit unions becoming involved in RV financing. “We are getting a tremendous bounce from credit unions,” Wilson said. “If that continues to happen, the banks are going to feel the pain and they will react to it. That’s how things normally work.”
In addition to an estimated 45 RV manufacturers, 350 vendors will staff booths at the show and FRVTA will give away two KZ Sportsman travel trailers as door prizes.
The association will sponsor 14 other regional shows between the end of January and early June.