Fort Lauderdale Boat Show 2017
Fort Lauderdale’s annual marine ‘Super Bowl’ sails back into town Wednesday and early indicators from exhibitors and organizers point to another stellar run for the five-day extravaganza. Helping to fuel the wave of optimism for the 58th Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show is an already strong year of boat sales, rising consumer confidence and an upbeat economic outlook. “We’re expecting a strong selling show,” said Andrew Doole, vice president and general manager of Informa Exhibitions, the event’s producer. “Sales coming into the show are good. We’ve had to change some boats around because boats are sold before they’ve even gotten here.” The 58th edition of the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show will come to town Nov. 1-5 with more than 1,2000 boats on display.
More than 100,000 enthusiasts from around the globe are expected to attend the show, which is said to pack a bigger economic punch in the tri-county region than the National Football League’s signature game when it’s been held in South Florida. The 2015 boat show generated an estimated $531.5 million in economic impact in South Florida and $857.3 million statewide, according to a study by Thomas J. Murray & Associates and the University of Florida released last year. By comparison, South Florida officials have estimated the Super Bowl’s impact to be in the mid-$300 million to high-$400 million range.
Foot traffic during the show is likely to be brisk provided the current good weather holds. “The online ticket sales are very strong. They’re running 16 percent ahead of last year,” Doole said. Informa installed millions of dollars in upgrades to help visitors and improve operations. Enhancements include a mile of new floating docks, new “cushy” waterproof flooring in most exhibition tents and new electrical equipment. Directional signage affixed to metallic totem poles and color-coded zones are expected to help visitors navigate more easily through the thousands of boats on display. New digital software will enable visitors to print a downloadable “walking list” of exhibitors and products. The show will feature about 1,600 boats while 1,400 exhibitors from more than 40 countries showcase roughly $4 billion in small vessels, yachts, superyachts, electronics and marine accessories.