NMMA asks exhibitors for help in Miami show dispute

Show organizers sent out an “action alert” asking exhibitors to let lawmakers in the area know the show is “crucial” to the industry.
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Organizers of the Miami International Boat Show, which has faced an uphill battle in its quest to move from the Miami Beach Convention Center to the land and water around Miami Marine Stadium, sent out an “action alert” asking exhibitors to let lawmakers in the area know the show is “crucial” to the industry.

“We need your help to produce the show you want,” National Marine Manufacturers Association president Thom Dammrich wrote in an email to exhibitors. “I’m writing to ask for your support for the Miami International Boat Show, an institution that is integral to the recreational boating industry.”

Dammrich said in a statement emailed to Trade Only Today that organizers don’t want to worry exhibitors, but instead want to rally them.

“The action alert is not meant to cause alarm, but to create a sense of urgency since, as you know, misguided opposition to the boat show from the village of Key Biscayne has reached a boiling point — opposition that is based on mistruths,” Dammrich told Trade Only. “We have decided enough is enough and want to express just how many people depend on the Miami International Boat Show and how important it is that we move past politics and focus on the facts.”

Last week, the Miami-Dade Commission delayed approval of an environmental permit necessary for the in-water portion of the show to take place and won’t consider the measure before mid-December.

It is the most recent in a long line of entanglements that have arisen as a result of Key Biscayne leadership’s opposition to holding the show on neighboring Virginia Key, including a lawsuit against the NMMA as well as the city of Miami, which backs the show and its plan to move to Miami Marine Stadium Park and Basin.

Yacht Miami Beach — formerly known as the Yacht & Brokerage Show in Miami Beach — has completely separate ownership and is not affected by the legal dispute between the NMMA and Key Biscayne. Although many attendees assumed the two shows were one and the same, they have always been separately owned and operated.

Yacht Miami Beach will be held along Collins Avenue, as always, as well as at an additional location at the Island Gardens Deep Harbour superyacht marina. It will be the only boat show that takes place in Miami Beach.

Meanwhile, the NMMA is firing back, saying the opposition to the Miami International Boat Show is not based on facts.

“The show is scheduled to celebrate its 75th anniversary in February at the Miami Marine Stadium and Basin,” Dammrich wrote in the action alert. “However, our ability to produce the best possible show for the industry and the consumer is being put at serious risk by politics that have nothing to do with the integrity of the show.”

“We can assure you, the boat show will happen in February and we are continuing to move ahead with plans,” Dammrich told Trade Only. “The action alert is designed to urge boat show supporters into sharing their voice so we can be louder about the need to prevent any politics from blurring what is most important.”

“The facts are that the boat show has an exemplary environmental track record, one of the most comprehensive event traffic plans the city has ever seen, and is not costing the state of Florida or Miami-Dade a dime,” Dammrich added. “Instead it creates nearly $600 million in annual economic activity, supports more than 6,500 jobs and generates more than $30 million in tax revenue while continuing a beloved 74-year tradition.”

The NMMA will deliver signed letters to key elected officials in Miami-Dade County, as well as congressional representatives, in an effort to show how important the show is to the region and the industry.

“Having the many supporters of the boat show add their voice helps ensure this message is loud and clear,” he said. “We look forward to seeing everyone at the show in February and are truly excited about what will be a phenomenal event!”

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