MIAMI — Show Management, the Fort Lauderdale-based boat show company, announced that its inaugural Panama International Boat Show will be held June 20-22 at Flamenco Marina at the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal.
The economies of Central and South America are growing, along with demand for boats 20 to 70 feet in a region that has a strong boating and fishing culture, Show Management CEO Efrem “Skip” Zimbalist III said Friday at the Yacht & Brokerage Show in Miami Beach.
There aren’t many dealers in the region, Zimbalist said, so much of that demand is going unmet. “We were looking for a place to do a show specializing in these kinds of boats” to meet the demand, he said. “We think there’s a big market that will develop in the region.”
Show organizers plan to cater to buyers from Panama, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela, among other countries in Central and South America.
Panama made sense as a venue for the show, Zimbalist said. The 238-slip Flamenco Marina, on Flamenco Island, is a flourishing tourist attraction with nine on-site restaurants overlooking the canal, two breakwaters, a drystack facility that will be completed in time for the boat show, 24-hour security, marine firefighters on-site, a fuel dock, disposal facilities, Wi-Fi, transportation assistance, fishing and private trip charter services, a bilingual staff and onsite government offices.
Moreover, Panama is politically stable, it uses the U.S. dollar as currency, has a modern infrastructure and is a “safe haven” for people of high net worth in the region, who come to Panama to invest.
Panama’s Ministry of Tourism and Maritime Administration are enthusiastic supporters of the project, Zimbalist said. Show Management’s target market is boat buyers in Panama, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela.
Zimbalist said the Panamanian government has promised favorable tax treatment, and Show Management — producer of the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, the Yacht & Brokerage Show in Miami Beach, the Palm Beach International Boat Show, the St. Petersburg Power and Sailboat Show and the Suncoast Boat Show in Sarasota — will provide for logistics to ship boats and other product from southeast U.S. ports to Panama, Zimbalist said.
Flamenco Marina president Miguel Lopez-Pinero said he is expanding it to accommodate the show. His marina can dock boats that range from 40 to 110 feet.