FLIBS 2020 Proves Successful Despite COVID

Projecting a safety-first approach to hosting the 61st annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS), the show’s producer, Informa Markets, and owner, the Marine Industries Association of South Florida (MIASF), continue to receive positive feedback from participants, including exhibitors, vendors, and visitors.

Kim Sweers, managing partner of FB Marine Group, said, “Contender had seven models on display and the booth was busy all week with both new and current clients. Although foot traffic was lighter, Contender dealers sold a total of 20 boats, which proved to be their best show in the company’s history!”

Bringing a much-needed economic benefit to the local tourism and hospitality industry, FLIBS offered a lifeline to hotels, restaurants, and shops in the area. Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis noted in an email message to residents, “…we put into place dozens of measures to ensure public health was protected amid the COVID-19 pandemic. People in the industry tell me that they had strong sales, and it also boosted other local businesses. That’s tremendously important for our economy as we try to navigate through COVID-19.”

The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau reported that hotels experienced their highest occupancy rate increases since the pandemic hit and for the first time in seven months the average daily rate exceeded $99.00. During the week of the show, hotel revenue was reported to be the highest it has been since mid-March. Additionally, Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport manager, Rufus James, reported a 30% increase in air traffic during the five days of the show.

Phil Purcell, MIASF CEO/president, concluded, “FLIBS has always been a community-inspired event, and not even a pandemic can change that. We pulled together our marine industry, and business and government leaders so we could plan and safely execute an important event that so many have relied on for the past 61 years. It was the right thing to do and we’re proud to be part of this resilient community.”