Palm Beach show sees 14 percent gain in attendance

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Palm Beach show organizers said the display of boats this year was the largest in the history of the event. Photo by Forest Johnson.

The 32nd annual Palm Beach International Boat Show, which ran from March 23-26, wrapped up with positive reviews from organizers and exhibitors, as both cited docks and exhibit tents filled with enthusiastic attendees on all show days.

Organizers said this year’s display of boats was the largest in the history of the show. The number of boats in the water increased by 6 percent from the 2016 show. The most dramatic growth occurred in the 80-to-100-foot category, which was up 17 percent.

Organizers said overall attendance exceeded the 2016 show by 14 percent.

“Year over year this show continues to grow in exhibitor participation and guest attendance, which speaks to both the strength of the boating industry and the unique, global appeal of Palm Beach as its location,” Show Management senior vice president and COO Andrew Doole said in a statement.

Show Management manages and produces the show. It was the first boat show since that company was purchased by Informa plc, a London-based company that is looking to expand its global exhibitions business in the United States.

The Marine Industries Association of Palm Beach County owns the show.

Ranked among the top five yachting events in the world, the Palm Beach show featured more than $1.2 billion worth of yachts and accessories, including hundreds of boats ranging from small inflatables and tenders, center consoles and sportfishers to some of the largest yachts in the world. Organizers said all categories reported robust interest from qualified buyers.

“We saw increased traffic at this year’s show and positive activity between brokers and clients,” Fraser Yachts COO Mike Busacca said.  “Overall, the show atmosphere was optimistic and was a good showcase for us heading into the summer season.”

This year’s event featured a lineup of new yacht builders that included Amels, Feadship, Heesen, Moonen and Palumbo in a new Superyacht Villas section at the center of the show.

“The Palm Beach International Boat Show was a great experience. We really appreciated the quality of the visitors, as well as the international press attendance,” Heesen Yachts public relations manager Sara Gioanola said. “We believe this show is a fantastic display opportunity.”

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