Fort Lauderdale show producers expect growth

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Show producers of the 44th annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show expressed hopeful expectations of the show, which began today and runs through November 3.

Kaye Pearson of Show Management, the producer of the show told Boating Industry that sales and attendance are expected to be up dramatically from last year. In the past, the estimated economic impact of the show had been around $550 million, according to Pearson, but he says that show producers are expecting that number to exceed $600 million in 2003.

Already there are numbers hinting at the potential growth, as advanced ticket sales were up 12–15 percent over last year as the show began. As in prior years, the show is sold out as far as booth space and in-water space, and there’s been a waiting list for additional space. The 650 boats on display register a similar number to past years’ totals. And there are 231 superyachts, or yachts of 80 feet or larger, on display.

Pearson said he expects the show will break records in every area: attendance, sales and economic impact.

Future growth?

While Pearson acknowledges that future growth of the Fort Lauderdale show is limited due to the amount of space available, he did say that there is a possibility to add square footage to the tents that house displays.

Additionally, Pearson was encouraged by the amount of trade activity that has been taking place at the Fort Lauderdale show. While there is a lot of trade activity at the Miami Boat Show, that has typically focused on boats about 40 feet in length. But, says Perason, trade activity of “boats above 40 feet has shifted dramatically to Fort Lauderdale.”

Show producers are also looking at expanding their reach in to other venues. For example, they said that they expect to see more activities in the Bahamas and the Carribean, and that there’s a possibility that Show Management is working on a boat show in China.

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