NewsInspiring South Florida


Business owners cast wide net for sales at Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show

Vendors hope to recover revenue loss from event cancelations during pandemic
Posted at 7:40 PM, Oct 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-02 09:16:39-05

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.  — South Florida businesses are still reeling from the cancellations of large-scale events from the pandemic.

However, this weekend several businesses across the region have set up temporary shops at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show with hopes of recovering lost revenue.

The 5-day event kicked off Wednesday at Noon and will continue through Sunday, November 1st.

“It’s nice to get out of the shop,” said Bryan Connley, owner of Connley Fishing in Royal Palm Beach. “We’ve been locked up there for a while, so we’re just getting back in the swing things. It’s nice to see this and get the ball rolling again.”

Connley Fishing has specialized in building custom fishing rods for 30 years.

The Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS) is recognized as one of the largest in-water boat show in the world with more than 1,000 exhibitors and 1,300 boats.

Every year, the show exhibits a vast array of the industry's latest boats and yachts of all sizes, worldwide debuts, plus a medley of marine products and accessories to enhance the nautical lifestyle.

However, this year organizers added several stringent safety guidelines.

“We have thermal imaging systems taking your temperature,” said Lana Bernstein, vice president of marketing for Informa U.S. Boat Shows. “Upon your arrival, before you get in the water-taxi they take your temperature.”

The Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show spans nearly 90 acres and will now be accessible by 13 show entrances to make it easier for attendees to safely navigate through the show.

The show is also increasing its six miles of floating docks to widths up to 30-feet along the face dock, allowing plenty of roomy walking space for a smooth and safe flow of traffic.

The event is owned by the Marine Industries Association of South Florida (MIASF) and produced by Informa Markets, the same company that operates the Palm Beach International Boat Show.

The downtown West Palm Beach event was canceled this year in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The next Palm Beach International Boat Show has been planned for March 25-28, 2021.

However, according to the West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority, the city is still not permitting large scale events at this point in time.

“In downtown, as of right now, the City of West Palm Beach is not permitting any special events to occur,” said Raphael Clemente, executive director of the West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority.

In the meantime, the Downtown Development Authority has been working with business owners to promote more foot traffic with its ‘Dining on the Spot’ initiative in West Palm Beach.

The program extends the outdoor dining services so restaurants can offer more seating options to customers.

“The only event that’s going on right now is the city’s green market. That is different in nature than a festival,” Clemente said.

The West Palm Beach GreenMarket is hosted in the downtown district weekly with a variety of wide-open, outdoor grocery shopping options from vendors.

For more information about the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, click here.