A global audience of more than 110,000 yachting and boating enthusiasts from 52 countries gathered in the “Yachting Capital of the World” from October 31 through November 4 to experience five days of jaw-dropping superyachts, luxury cars and aircraft, yacht toys, and marine accessories at the 59th annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS).
“Our goal was to create a fresh event for guests and an even more successful sales environment for exhibitors, and judging by the extremely positive feedback, we succeeded on both those fronts and more,” said Informa U.S. Boat Shows General Manager Andrew Doole.
“The success of the show is due in large part to the teamwork of many very talented, dedicated people and excellent new partnerships.”
"Great weather and a good economy are always welcomed at the boat show and this year we were lucky to have both," said MIASF CEO/President Phil Purcell. "With outdoor recreation comprising 2 percent of the U.S. GDP, and 50 percent of that dedicated to boating and fishing, we know FLIBS is an important economic driver, and with NBC Sports Network filming at the show this year, we had additional opportunities to showcase the size and scope of the show and our industry."
With sunny skies setting the stage for perfect days on the docks, gate attendance was up over the 2017 show. Among the show’s numerous bright spots was a 5 percent increase in boats on display from 100 to 126 feet and exhibitors reporting meetings with many qualified buyers.
“The 2018 Fort Lauderdale show was one to remember. Rarely have we experienced such a focused buying crowd,” said Chuck Cashman, Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer for MarineMax.
“Our product stood tall with the freshest collective inventory that we have ever had, and the buyers responded well to a large selection of new and innovative models. Larger boats were definitely in play during the five days and our ability to have inventory in stock 60 to 122 feet was a decided advantage as buyers were ready to reward themselves immediately.”
Several new and exciting enhancements highlighted this year’s event. An engaging new entrance featuring a 53-foot, four engine center console set atop the entry archway and a massive LED video wall welcomed guests to the show. Savory, convenient food and catering options were available, and an elevated VIP experience delighted those who enjoyed taking their show experience to the next level.
Exciting new activities including a yacht chef competition and a Best of Show award in partnership with NBC Sports added to the excitement. New technology at entry gates and ticket booths, new security screening systems and an improved bus transportation route resulted in a faster flow of guest traffic.
According to Stefano Arlunno, Overmarine Group Area Manager for the Americas, builder of Mangusta, "Mangusta's popularity in the U.S. is growing stronger and FLIBS is an event not to be missed for us. This year we displayed a brand-new product for the U.S. market, the 135-foot Mangusta Oceano Namastè, a tri-deck from our Long Range line, which was a great success. We are proud to say that she was awarded Best of Show!"
As the largest in-water boat show in the world, FLIBS features boats and attractions of all kinds for everyone who enjoys life by the water. In addition to the display of more than 1,500 boats and 1,200 exhibitors representing 52 countries, the show drew crowds to Hook The Future’s kids’ fishing clinics, the IGFA School of Sportfishing, The Blue Wild ocean and marine art exposition, and live water toy demonstrations at the AquaZone, presented by Nautical Ventures, at the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center location.
“This year’s Fort Lauderdale boat show was a smashing success for Nautical Ventures and we’ve sold over 30 boats and close to $4 million dollars in sales just one week after the end of the show, including revenues from our AquaZone™ exhibition,“ said Roger Moore, CEO of Nautical Ventures, which had 51 boats on display at the Bahia Mar and Convention Center locations.
“Axopar and Blackfin Boats represented the lion’s share of our boat sales, but we had a good cross section of sales across all lines. There are still many boat show leads to be followed up on and we’re forecasting another million dollars in boat show related sales by the end of November.”
Francois-Xavier Hotier, president of Ulysse Nardin, the official timekeeper of the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, also had positive sentiments to share. “We were thrilled to be a part of this year’s Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. Ulysse Nardin has longstanding ties to the marine community and it was great to see how many yachting enthusiasts are also watch connoisseurs and admirers of the brand.”
Owned by the Marine Industries Association of South Florida (MIASF) and produced by Informa, the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS) spans more than three million square-feet of exhibit space across seven waterfront locations including the Bahia Mar Yachting Center, Hall of Fame Marina, Las Olas Municipal Marina, Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina, Pier 66 Marina, Pier 66 Marina South, and the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center, all connected by an intricate network of water and ground transportation services.
The 2018 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show was sponsored by Delta Private Jets, Ulysse Nardin, Goslings, Holman, Lauderdale Imports, Budweiser, West Marine, LaCroix, and Bank of America.