Fort Lauderdale show extension paves way for site enhancements

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The Marine Industries Association of South Florida and Informa Exhibitions are planning enhancements to exhibitor and attendee experiences at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, as their agreement allows for as much as 50 years in one of its central locations.

MIASF, owners of the show, and Informa Exhibitions, producers of the show, said Wednesday that they signed a 30-year lease extension with the Bahia Mar Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel & Yachting Center to keep the Fort Lauderdale show at the property through 2050.

The groups said the lease also has two 10-year extension options, allowing for as much as 50 years in place.

With the extension in place, the Fort Lauderdale City Commission voted to allow the operators of Bahia Mar, Rahn Bahia Mar LLC, to submit plans for redeveloping the 39-acre site into an upscale community and the permanent home of the boat show.

“As lifelong residents of South Florida we understand both the symbolic and the economic importance of the boat show to our marine industry and to the vitality of our community,” Jimmy Tate, who heads the Rahn Bahia Mar development group, said in a statement. “We are committed to creating a resort-style community and waterfront destination that is the permanent home of the boat show.”

Established in 1959, the show has grown to seven locations with more than 3 million square feet of space, including the Bahia Mar, five additional marinas and the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center, all connected by a network of water taxis, riverboats and shuttles.

“We look forward to working closely with the owners of Bahia Mar, the MIASF and all our stakeholders on the continued success of this extraordinary boat show for the next 30 years and beyond,” said Charlie McCurdy, CEO of Informa Exhibitions. “With the lease extension in place we are prepared to commit significant resources to improving the show’s infrastructure, technologies and customer services in ways that will noticeably enhance exhibitor and attendee experiences.”

Earlier this year London-based Informa PLC purchased Show Management, the company that has managed the Fort Lauderdale show since 1976, the year it relocated to Bahia Mar.

The 58th annual Fort Lauderdale show will take place Nov. 1-5 this year.

“We are working diligently with all stakeholders involved, including exhibitors, venues, local hoteliers and the MIASF to build upon the strength of this boat show,” McCurdy said. “We are committed to enhancing attendee engagement through community partnerships, commitment to local charitable organizations and an expanded focus on the overall experience.”

“Informa’s exhibition expertise, coupled with Bahia Mar’s transformational redevelopment, will ensure that the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show delivers an economic benefit that will continue to secure the region as the yachting capital of the world,” MIASF CEO Phil Purcell said.

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