The RV industry enters 2002 with cautious optimism and the consumer shows this month will do a lot to determine whether sales forecasts will need to be revised up or down.

The retail show season began Wednesday (Jan. 2) with the opening of the Tacoma RV Show in Tacoma, Wash., and the opening today (Jan. 3) of the 46th Annual San Antonio Sport, Boat & RV Show in San Antonio, Tex.

The Tacoma and San Antonio shows both will end on Sunday (Jan. 6).

Other retail RV shows will begin next week in Cleveland, St. Lucie, Fla., Rockford, Ill., Greensboro, N.C., Hartford, Conn., Houma, La., and Indianapolis.

The retail show season is crucial because local and regional shows can account for up to one-third of a dealer’s annual sales, according to Jill Costic, promoter of the Pittsburgh RV Show.

Usually, the retail show in Pittsburgh begins in mid-January, but this year, it was delayed because the city’s new convention center will not be finished in time. Consequently, the show in Pittsburgh was postponed until Feb. 23-March 3.

Because of the re-scheduling, the Pittsburgh show lost “a couple” of dealers for this year’s event, Costic told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. She anticipates “25 or so” dealers from Western Pennsylvania will exhibit at the Pittsburgh show next month.

In general, RV industry executives currently believe new-unit sales in 2001 will be better than they were in 2001, but will not quite reach the level of 2000.