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  • Tina Benitez-Eves

NY Boat Show shift may impact NY Now in 2015

Annual boating trade show could move to a mid-to-late January schedule

NY Now, and several other shows held at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, may have to shift its January show dates in 2015 following Gov. Andrew Cuomo's decision to move the NY Boat Show from early January to later in the month.

The move would affect the January Progressive Insurance NY Boat Show, organized by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), starting 2015 through 2019, following a meeting with Gov. Cuomo and a boating executive who reportedly persuaded the New York State governor to move the dates.

As a result of the NY Boat Show shift in dates, five major trade shows would be displaced in January, including NY Now, Business Journal's MRket Show, Texworld, the National Retail Federation (NRF) and the Action Sportswear and Street Wear Show. Friends of Javits, a group of 50 trade show operators who hold shows at the New York City convention center, believe the move also conflicts with the convention center's policies, according to a recent Crain's report, which makes booking decisions based on economic returns from a show including tax revenue, booked hotels, restaurants and tourism-related businesses. The group is scheduled to meet with the administration at the governor's midtown Manhattan office Aug. 14.

Among those attending meeting with the administration this Wednesday is the NRF, who, along with other Javits officials and stakeholders, will discuss the impact and consequences of moving the NY Boat Show in 2015. "NRF is hopeful that officials will carefully consider our positive impact and will reconsider their effort to accommodate the timing of one show at the expense of others," said Bill Thorne, senior vice president for communications and public affairs in a statement today.

Thorne added that this year the NRF show had a record 27,600 attendees in 2013 and generated more than $20 million to the economy, according to NYC & Company, New York City's official marketing, tourism and partnership organization. "Our intention is to remain in New York and we are hopeful that officials will return to the agreed upon event schedule," he said.

The winter gift trade show, NY Now, which will continue as planned with its Feb. 1-6, 2014 schedule, is just one of the trade shows that may have to shift its dates. "Looking ahead to 2015 and beyond, we are confident NY Now will maintain access to Javits' full facility within a winter date pattern that is consistent with the show's history," Charles McCurdy, chairman and CEO, GLM, the NY Now show organizers, told Home Accents Today sister publication Gifts and Decorative Accessories.

"The NMMA will continue to work with the management of the Javits Center to minimize the effects on other events due to this scheduling change," said Ben Wold, executive vice president, NMMA

Now in its 108th year, the New York Boat Show, has trimmed the duration of the show, suffered a decrease in attendance and dealer sales, and even considered cancelling the show as a result of the change in show dates 10 years ago, in addition to the impact of Superstorm Sandy.

Wold told Gifts and Decorative Accessories that returning the show back to its mid-to-late January schedule will positively impact the boating industry. The NY Boat Show was traditionally held during the second and third weekends in January before it was moved to a late December, early January schedule in 2003, according to Wold. As a result, he said that the NMMA was forced to cut the duration of the show by nearly 50%, which impacted the New York recreational marine industry. Attendance also went down according to Wold, going from more than 90,000 in 2003 to less than 30,000 in 2013. "For many boating enthusiasts, the historical start date of the Progressive Insurance New York Boat Show in mid- to late-January was a much-anticipated tradition," he said, "an early peek at spring and summer outdoor recreation, as well as a primary sales venue for boating businesses."

He added, "The dates going forward for the New York Boat Show in mid-late January will be key in reinvigorating the recreational boating industry and generating much-needed sales for small businesses such as boat dealerships, marinas and marine retailers throughout the Northeast. The show helps contribute an estimated 30 to 50 percent of annual revenue for these businesses."

To further expand its presence, an additional NY Boat Show will be added in September 2014 - a first. Dates for the new second Boat Show in September 2014 have not been released, and may affect several other shows held at Javits, including Fashion Coterie, The Rug Show, Fame and AccessoriesTheShow.

Boat shows attract more than 1 million people annually, according to the NMMA and allow manufacturers to launch boats, gear and more, in addition to helping to predict future buyer trends and sales in the $39.5 billion industry. In New York State, alone, the recreational boating industry has a total annual impact of $5.79 billion and includes 1,856 businesses and 46,303 total jobs, according to the NMMA, in addition to generating $2.4 billion in annual recreational boating-related spending.

The NMMA recently reported that it expects the industry to grow as much as 5% to 10% in 2013, which will be dependent on several factors affecting recreational boating, including consumer confidence and the housing marketing; an increase in power boat sales has also contributed to a boost in the boating market.

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