The 58th annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show attracted a world-wide audience of approximately 105,000 international buyers, sellers and browsers who came to see the latest that the global boating industry has to offer and to do business in the "Yachting Capital of the World."
Drawing visitors from more than 50 countries, attendance at this year's event was up 7 percent over 2016, organizers reported.
Buyers had a larger selection to choose from, with an overall increase of 4 percent in the number of boats on display in the water, with a 9 percent jump in new boats under 100 feet and 10 percent growth in the number of brokerage (pre-owned) boats over 100 feet.
"Informa's investments in the show delivered a superior visitor experience to previous shows," said Andrew Doole, general manager of Informa, the show's producer. "Excellent weather, a robust economy, realigned marketing efforts and a huge selection of new product offerings brought energetic crowds to the docks and exhibits daily."
"We were very pleased with the traffic at this year's show and the overall feeling of optimism among our brokers and clients when the show concluded," said Sally Doleski, vice president of marketing for Ocean Alexander. "New docks, clear dock- markings for those trying to find their way through an incredibly large location, and increased variety for food and beverage options all added to the enjoyment of our guests at the show."
The 58th annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show spans more than three million square feet of exhibit space in-water and on land across seven locations including the Bahia Mar Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel & Yachting Center, the Hall of Fame Marina, Las Olas Municipal Marina, Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina, Sails Marina, Hyatt Regency Pier 66 Marina, and the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center.
"It was a tremendous show, with high energy, brisk sales activity and great enthusiasm for our new boats - the 93 Motor Yacht and the 44 Open - as well as all our other yachts," said Patrick Healey, president and CEO of Viking Yachts. Viking sold 13 boats from 37 to 93 feet at FLIBS. The company's 15-vessel display drew more visitors than any previous Fort Lauderdale show - more than 7,000 over the five-day event. The New Jersey-based company also announced that a new 68 Convertible will debut at the Miami Yacht Show in February.
Other attractions at this year's event included Take the Helm on-the-water boat handling classes from Carefree Boat Club, IGFA School of Sportfishing seminars, the Blue Wild dive and marine art show, and Hook The Future kids' fishing clinics.
"The 2017 clinics were better than ever and drew hundreds of families eager to learn how to catch more fish and have fun doing it together. We can't wait till next year," said Hook The Future founder, Capt. Don Dingman.
One of the Windward VIP Club's attractive benefits was the dedicated concierge team, Delmay and Partners, who worked on behalf of VIP passholders to arrange various services including yacht tours, local dining reservations, private transportation and other conveniences.
"The 2017 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show brought an increase in visits to our displays and enabled us to enter into many strong negotiations and a number of sales," said Randy Coleman, vice president of sales of Ferretti Group America. "Fort Lauderdale continues to be an important show for Ferretti Group as we see great attendance from our US-based clients as well as an increase in visitors from South America. Our South American dealers were very pleased with the outcome and recognize the importance of attending this show."
The Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show contributes $11.5 billion to the region's economy and supports the sustainability of 136,000 marine industry jobs in South Florida.