The enduring popularity of boat shows in the wake of COVID was demonstrated by the recent Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS), which attracted more than 100,000 visitors, many of them anglers.
The event lived up to its claim as the largest in-water boat show in the world, featuring exhibitors from global shipyards and local marine manufacturers.
Buyers were in a bullish mood throughout the five days. “In 20-plus years of working FLIBS, I can honestly say that I have never seen the mood of the buyer any better,” said Chuck Cashman, Chief Revenue Officer with MarineMax.
“There was a vibe unlike any I have ever experienced. The buyer was laser focused – the usual social, political and economic distractions were not present, and COVID protocols were in place and understood by all.”
Phil Purcell, President and CEO of the Marine Industries Association of South Florida, said the demand for boating is at an all-time high. “The show served as the perfect medium to connect boat buyers with sought-after products,” he added.
Visitors to the Broward County Convention Center were connected to new products from a range of top brands. The centre also housed the Aquazone with its 40,000-gallon freshwater pool for in-water demonstrations, and Nautical Adventures, which allowed show-goers to experience various water sports and marine products.
A study carried out after the 2019 show revealed that more than $714 million in products were sold, with a statewide economic impact of $1.3 billion. A further study commissioned for this year’s show will be released in early 2022.