FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS), the largest in-water boat show in the world, owned by the Marine Industries Association of South Florida and produced by Informa Markets, wrapped up its 63rd edition, held Oct. 26-30 at seven locations in Fort Lauderdale, with impressive numbers.
Once again, the FLIBS attendance exceeded 100,000, keeping pace with its 2021 numbers, and so far FLIBS had a statewide economic impact of $1.79 billion, with more than $800 million in sales happening at the show.
Andrew Doole, President of U.S. Boat Shows, shared the reasons attendance numbers were high. “A variety of factors come into play, like more inventory coming back into the market, and thus the show, which delivers more product to promote. There was more focus on education at the Broward County Convention Center and aligning with a plethora of industry influencers to spread the word of all that FLIBS has to offer. It was really a team effort from sales and marketing to get the customers there and the operations and financial teams delivering beautiful end results.”
Show staples, like Super Yacht Village, remained a can’t miss location for attendees, where they can get looks at the super yachts and often place orders with the builders at the show. Doole said The AquaZone by Nautical Ventures, a 40,000-gallon freshwater pool where in-water demos occur, was another hit with visitors, giving them an upfront experience of the action.
The food and beverage options at FLIBS were top of the line across more than 200 concessions and satellite bars, increasing the number of points of sale for food and drinks and decreasing wait times in lines. Proof of the Pudding, which catered the Windward VIP Club, provided colorful and fresh meals for attendees, including tuna poke, Boa buns with Korean fried tofu and smoked pork belly with root beer soda glaze among others. They also provided mixology offerings and white glove service.
“All of our food is made from scratch,” Adam Noyes, President of Proof of the Pudding, said. “This is the hard way to prepare foods in a non-traditional environment, but it’s the right way, and the flavors and freshness is noticeable for our customers.”
Luckily for FLIBS, Hurricane Ian didn’t directly impact the show, but the FLIBS team leveraged the show and worked with industry partners to raise funds to provide relief for those affected by Hurricane Ian. “Our thoughts and prayers, and support are with our family, friends and customers on the west coast of Florida. Our support from the U.S. Boat Shows will continue until they are back on their feet,” Doole said.
Next year’s FLIBS will take place Oct. 25-29, and there are already ideas for the 2023 edition. “We want to build on the education, continue to evolve our sustainability plan, work with other industry leaders to make a broader impact and, of course, the latest technologies that are changing seemingly by the month in our industry,” Doole said.