HOUSTON, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) — The 64th Houston International Boat, Sport & Travel Show concluded on Sunday, where over 100 vendors displayed more than 1,000 boats for potential buyers.
The event started on Jan. 4 in the fourth largest city in the United States. The most expensive boat on display was a 1.6 million U.S. dollar yacht, on which people could take a free tour.
Crowd for the boat show this year was smaller and quieter than last year when sales skyrocketed because people were eager to replace their boats damaged by Hurricane Harvey in 2017.
Jonathan Whitmire, Texas Marine general manager and board member of the Boating Trade Association of metropolitan Houston, told Xinhua that since Washington’s decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum citing national security reasons, the costs of boats have increased.
“They (manufacturers) are already having preempted price increases. Anything I order after the show is going to be anywhere from 5 to 10 percent more,” he said.
The price increase results from the rising costs of materials, Whitmire said. Pontoon boats, for example, might have a 14 percent increase in price because they use more aluminum than other boats.
Many retail vendors at the show used “pre-tariff” prices to attract people to purchase current stocks, and buyers welcomed this opportunity.
Alan May and his wife drove 1.5 hours to the show to look for a fishing boat. They said the pre-tariff price would influence their decision.
“If there’s a tariff forthcoming, I definitely would like to get ahead of that,” May said.