A new-look Yachts Miami Beach

Changes include a refreshed layout, improved transportation and, for the first time, an admission fee
A free shuttle bus service will carry visitors between Yachts Miami Beach and the Miami International Boat Show on Virginia Key.

A free shuttle bus service will carry visitors between Yachts Miami Beach and the Miami International Boat Show on Virginia Key.

Yachts Miami Beach will return to Collins Avenue Feb. 16-20 with a completely revamped layout, several entrances in conjunction with a first-time entrance fee and beefed-up transportation to get attendees to and from the show. Attendance, formerly free, now will cost $20.

As part of the overhaul, docks will no longer come out from the sidewalk along Collins Avenue in spokes, which forced attendees to travel from section to section along the sidewalk. Instead, visitors will be able to navigate the show on docks on the water that will connect various sections of the show.

“We were overdue to have a complete refresh on that show,” says Efrem “Skip” Zimbalist III, president of Show Management, which produces and co-owns Yachts Miami Beach. (Show Management and Soundings Trade Only are part of Active Interest Media.)

“I’m excited about it,” says Zimbalist. “It’s great that we’re getting people as much as we can off the sidewalk that runs along Collins Avenue. We’ll be getting people out on the docks and out on the water and adding restaurants out there so people can dine by the boats. I think it will be great. And the new transportation program will be very enjoyable, as well as effective.”

The look of the show will be completely different, says Show Management marketing vice president Brett Keating. The producers have hired EDSA, a landscape architecture firm that has worked with the Disney parks and has overhauled upscale destinations around the world, including the Opera House in Dubai, Hilton Yuxi Fuxian Lake in China, Indura Beach and Golf Resort in Honduras, the St. Regis Punta Mita Resort in Mexico and dozens of others.

EDSA has “this amazing ability to take an existing site and put a fresh look and feel [on it], and work with landscaping and the flow,” says Keating.

A prominent landscape architectural firm has been hired to give Yachts Miami Beach a new look.

A prominent landscape architectural firm has been hired to give Yachts Miami Beach a new look.

The show will have water taxis to help visitors and exhibitors avoid Miami Beach traffic. It also will offer free shuttle buses between Yachts Miami Beach, which is owned by Show Management and the Florida Yacht Brokers Association, and the Progressive Miami International Boat Show, which is owned by the National Marine Manufacturers Association. Although they are separately owned, the two shows run concurrently.

“We realize the NMMA show is still important to our industry, and we have lots of exhibitors and clients that want to go back and forth, so we’re adding bus transportation back and forth,” says Keating.

“Transportation is one of our No. 1 focal points in bringing in EDSA,” she says. “We want them to change the layout and the transportation. The walking route through the show is going to be different because there’s going to be the option of navigating the show on the docks. You won’t have to [use] the sidewalk. We’re going to make that whole experience different.”

Organizers will “go crazy” advertising and promoting the show, Keating says — in part to help avoid confusion between Yachts Miami Beach and the NMMA show, which moved this year to Virginia Key.

“Last year we thought there would be mass confusion, and there was,” Keating says. “So we’ve added a good half a million dollars to the media promotion plan. We’ll have multiple entrances. We’ve completely cleaned up the street, so there will be no chicken on a stick. And we are going to have water transportation that will go as far north as 67th Street and as far south as the Indian Creek goes — almost to the [Miami Beach] Convention Center. People can get to the boat show via the water and there are entrances on the water side, too. So if visitors want to, they can completely bypass the street.”


The bus system also will cover Miami Beach from points north and south, Keating says.

There will be a new VIP experience on the water, as well, including a yacht and an on-water veranda.

“It’s truly an international show,” Keating says. “People come from all over the world to get the Miami Beach experience. We’ve got to live up to the glitz and glamor. We want exhibitors to get excited about that — that we’re doing everything to keep Yachts Miami Beach fresh and new.”

This article originally appeared in the October 2016 issue.


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