Fort Lauderdale show reports 7 percent attendance gain

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Visitors from more than 50 countries attended the show this year.

Visitors from more than 50 countries attended the show this year.

Informa said the 58th Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show attracted an audience of about 105,000 international buyers, sellers and visitors from more than 50 countries and attendance was up 7 percent from 2016.

Informa, the show’s producer, also said there was an increase of 4 percent in the number of boats on display in the water, a 9 percent jump in new boats of less than 100 feet and 10 percent growth in the number of brokerage boats longer than 100 feet.

“Informa’s investments in the show delivered a superior visitor experience to previous shows,” Andrew Doole, general manager of Informa, said in a statement. “Excellent weather, a robust economy, realigned marketing efforts and a huge selection of new product offerings brought energetic crowds to the docks and exhibits daily.”

Manufacturers that exhibited at the show had good things to say about it.

“We were very pleased with the traffic at this year’s show and the overall feeling of optimism among our brokers and clients when the show concluded,” said Sally Doleski, vice president of marketing for Ocean Alexander. “New docks, clear dock markings for those trying to find their way through an incredibly large location and increased variety for food and beverage options all added to the enjoyment of our guests at the show.”

The show spanned more than 3 million square feet of exhibit space in the water and on land across seven locations — the Bahia Mar Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel & Yachting Center; the Hall of Fame Marina; LasOlas Municipal Marina; Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina; Sails Marina; Hyatt Regency Pier 66 Marina; and the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center.

"It was a tremendous show, with high energy, brisk sales activity and great enthusiasm for our new boats — the 93 Motor Yacht and the 44 Open — as well as all our other yachts," said Patrick Healey, president and CEO of Viking Yachts.

Viking sold 13 boats from 37 to 93 feet at FLIBS. The company's 15-vessel display drew more visitors than any previous Fort Lauderdale show — more than 7,000 during the five-day event. The New Jersey-based company said a new 68 Convertible will debut at the Miami Yacht Show on Collins Avenue in February.

"The 2017 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show brought an increase in visits to our displays and enabled us to enter into many strong negotiations and a number of sales," said Randy Coleman, vice president of sales at Ferretti Group America.

"Fort Lauderdale continues to be an important show for Ferretti Group, as we see great attendance from our U.S.-based clients, as well as an increase in visitors from South America,” Coleman added. “Our South American dealers were very pleased with the outcome and recognize the importance of attending this show."

Other show attractions included Take the Helm on-the-water boat-handling classes from the Carefree Boat Club; IGFA School of Sportfishing seminars; and Hook the Future kids’ fishing clinics.

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Dealers and exhibitors were pleased with the show results.