Attendance up again at Palm Beach show

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The Palm Beach International Boat Show, held March 22-25, posted a 7.5 percent increase in attendance over 2017 — marking its third year of substantial growth.

Attendance in 2017 was 9.5 percent higher than in 2016, with additional year-over-year growth in exhibitors and boats on display.

There were 6 percent more new and used boats for sale at the Palm Beach show this year than last year; that number grew 12.5 percent between 2016 and 2017, an increase that organizers say was driven by new boats.

“Every major boat show has its own special appeal, and for the Palm Beach show, it’s the beautiful setting in a world-famous destination at the most beautiful time of year that distinguishes it from the rest,” said Andrew Doole, general manager of the show for Informa, the show’s producer. “Many of the world’s most renowned shipyards prize the show as a platform for conducting business with the global elite.”

Exhibitors of all types of products reported qualified buyers and strong sales.

“Blessed with amazing weather that set the backdrop for four days of serious sales, we finished the show significantly up in both units and dollars,” says MarineMax chief revenue officer Chuck Cashman. “The location, coupled with a considerable product commitment by the dealers and manufacturers, made the customer experience second to none. This show somewhat symbolizes the end of the show season, and it closed with a bang.”

Chuck Collins, executive director of the Marine Industries Association of Palm Beach County, which owns the show, says it may have been the best year ever: “We spoke to numerous guests, and everyone said they were having a wonderful time.”

The Ferretti Group exhibited eight models, including the Custom Line Navetta 33 and Ferretti Yachts 920, which made its debute at the Miami Yacht Show in February. In addition to the new models, the company brought the Ferretti Yachts 450, Riva Aquariva Super, Riva Rivamare, Riva 76 Perseo, Pershing 5X and Pershing 82 VHP.

Alberto Galante, president and CEO of G Marine, the Fort Lauderdale dealer of Evo Yachts, said this year’s crowd was enthusiastic, consistent and qualified.

“We were even able to secure a deal with a local prospect who saw the boat in the show’s directory,” he said.

The number of exhibitors continues to grow an average of 5 percent year over year, organizers said.

“This was our first year displaying at the Palm Beach show, and what a pleasant show it is,” said Lürssen Americas director Timothy Hamilton. “We like the show’s setting, the town of Palm Beach and the overall experience for our clients. The clients we met were talking about building new boats, which is a good sign. The weather was perfect, and the timing works with yachts ending the winter season here and preparing to cross to the Med. We like this boat show and hope to see it continue to grow as a significant event on the U.S. yachting calendar.”

Palm Beach County Animal Care & Control found homes for 11 cats and dogs at the event, and through a ticket sales partnership with Bennett Auto, the show raised $35,000 for Sheridan House Ministries and the Palm Beach County Fishing Foundation.

“The Palm Beach International Boat Show holds a special place on many boating and yachting enthusiasts’ calendars,” says Mary Bender, vice president of marketing for Informa. “It’s the last major international yacht show of the yearly boat-show season and therefore is well attended by serious shoppers as well as many key industry executives. It’s a great show to do business and make a deal.”

This article originally appeared in the April 2018 issue.


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