FLIBS 2012: Show considers adding more amenities

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Organizers and owners of the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show are laying out objectives to take the show to the next level, from creating VIP experiences for high rollers to dredging so even larger superyachts can have access.

“I think the point is not to rest on our laurels and say, ‘This is it, we’re the biggest and we’re the best, so we’ve gone out to constituents to ask, ‘What can we do better?’ ” said Efrem “Skip” Zimbalist, owner of Active Interest Media, the parent company of show producer Show Management and also Soundings and Soundings Trade Only.

“We couldn’t take a lot of boats over 200 feet ... that wanted to come because we simply didn’t have the depth space, so we were turning away business,” Zimbalist said.

Other initiatives include giving those who spend large chunks of money at FLIBS additional transportation and resources, upgrading the bus system so routes can easily be diverted if one becomes clogged and providing more boats at lower price points.

“People who spend $2 [million] or $3 million on a cruiser or fishing boat are VIPs,” Zimbalist said. “We have a range of people who are very important people and they’re used to getting a very good experience when they go to a football game or restaurant, for example, and when they go to a boat show they want the same thing.”

Community leaders and show owners and organizers came together for the opening breakfast in a show of their commitment to continue the event in the city.

Fort Lauderdale Mayor John P. "Jack" Seiler said that in addition to the $500 million economic impact and 162,000 jobs the show creates, it “puts Fort Lauderdale on the map.”

“This show makes a difference to who we are, what we do and how we prosper as a city,” Seiler said. “It is a local treasure which truly symbolizes the character, passion and spirit of the city. This boat show has been in Fort Lauderdale for five decades and this boat show will remain in Fort Lauderdale as long as the show wants to stay here.”

Seiler praised the efforts of Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca, who also attended the breakfast, saying “he has ... done everything possible to make sure that the marine industry succeeds.”

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