The organizers are describing the 56th annual edition of the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show as the biggest and best yet.
The expectations going in were sky-high and the show more than lived up to them. After five days of meeting, sales and exhibits the FLIBS 2015 closed. It attracted about 100,000 people.
The world’s biggest in-water boat show had more boats at docks than ever – up 4 percent from last year to top 1,500. Five yachts this year topped 200 feet each, said Efrem “Skip” Zimbalist III, president of Fort Lauderdale’s Show Management, which organizes the event.
“Every year, it gets better and better, and this year was really awesome,” said Kathy Nitabach, vice president of Bradford Marine group of Fort Lauderdale, which sells boats and operates repair yards.
The crowds were attracted by debuts of many new yachts. With Europe and other world markets weak this year and the U.S. market stronger, many manufacturers came to Fort Lauderdale with strong lineups.
James Nobel, Vice President & Marketing Director of Princess Yachts America, told us: “Overall, FLIBS 2015 was very successful for Princess yachts. Despite the warmer than average temperatures, attendance was strong over the course of the show. We premiered the 88 Motor Yacht and Princess V48 OPEN alongside nine other models in our display on the Bahia Mar Yachting Center Face Dock. We saw a number of our current customers in attendance, and sales were strong during the show, with some very good leads that we believe will result in additional sales as a result of the show. We very much appreciate all of the efforts that Show Management, the media, the Marine Industries Association, and the city do to keep this event successful each and every year”.
The show turned out to be a success not only for Princess Yachts but also for other major players in the industry. Timothy Hamilton, Director of Feadship America, was content with this year’s FLIBS, adding that the show has become increasingly more active in the past three years. “I think most people were very happy with the activities. We had a few serious meetings with clients, developing new relations as well as maintaining existing ones.” He elaborated that his company builds five yachts per year, and plans to sell two of those in the US.
Dutch yacht shipyard, Heesen Yachts has described it as “the best FLIBS ever”. ‘We had a new stand location, on the front, and we have our new offices on 17th street with Thom Conboy as sales director for the Americas. On Friday 6th we had a press conference to present Project Nina and Project Nova”, – said Sara Gioanola, PR & Press Office Manager.
The show was a success as well as for superyacht brokerage agency, Edmiston Yachts. Jamie Edmiston, CEO of Edmiston Yachts told us “The show was a success for us. We exhibited the 50m Perini Navi SILENCIO and the 59m Oceanco HELIOS. Both yachts were very well received and we had offers on both which was encouraging.”
Seven venues stretched over 3 million square feet of exhibition space featuring more than $4 billion in boats, equipment, accessories and marine art.
A job fair for the marine industry linked to the show also was larger this year than the year before. According to organizers, the fair drew some 300 people, up from about 200 in 2014.
For yacht brokers, the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show is the highlight of the year on the US market. According to Peter Quintal, who works for Denison Yacht Sales, “you can make half a year’s salary at the boat show”.
In all, the annual boat show brings the Fort Lauderdale area an economic impact greater than a Super Bowl. The last impact study completed in 2007 estimated the benefit to the area at roughly $500 million. A Super Bowl generally runs in the $400 million range, Zimbalist said.