By: Beatrice Silva
2 min read September 2020 — The Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS) must go on despite challenges surrounding COVID-19. For decades, the Marine Industries Association of South Florida has hosted the annual event, which showcases boat innovations and trends while steadily generating millions of dollars for the region.
In 2019, the show produced $1.3 billion, which was an $800-million increase since 2015, according to an Intelligence Report by SuperYacht Times. “The importance of FLIBS to the local and statewide economy cannot be overstated. Not only does the show have a bigger economic impact than any Super Bowl, FLIBS sustains the $12-billion South Florida marine industry and its 142,000 jobs for the remaining 360 days of the year, solidifying the region’s reputation as, not just the yachting capital of the world, but the refit and repair capital of the world, as well,” Phil Purcell, CEO and President of the Marine Industries Association of South Florida told the Boating Industry.
It comes as no surprise that this year’s event will be vastly different than anything from the previous years. It has been reported by WLRN that the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show will duplicate some of its safety guidelines from Walt Disney World. The five-day event, taking place on Oct. 28 – Nov. 1, will welcome around 100,000 visitors. It is expected that wearing face masks and practicing social distancing will be enforced. However, additional safety guidelines, such an increased number of entrances, temperature screening, site reservations and modified boat experiences, might also be implemented. A public event of this size will be one of the first for South Florida since the pandemic. Its success is crucial to the current fragile tourism industry.
“I am extremely pleased that the County Commission gave clear direction today that the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show can take place as planned next month. It is vital that we get our economy back on track. The upcoming Boat Show is critical to accomplishing that because the show has a major positive economic impact on Fort Lauderdale by supporting local businesses and their employees. Public health will be protected. Fort Lauderdale has been a leader in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, and we have worked with the Boat Show to put together a solid plan to ensure it will be held with the utmost safety,”Dean Trantalis, Mayor of Fort Lauderdale, told CBS Miami.
Some of the event’s main attractions include gazing at the incredible array of boats and marine accessories, ranging from super-yachts to runabouts. Visitors of all ages can also learn or sharpen their sea skills by taking courses like “Take the Helm,” sponsored by Carefree Boat Club, or “Kids Fishing Clinics,” hosted by Hook The Future.
Tourism is Fort Lauderdale’s second-largest industry, accounting for more than 114,000 jobs. As Broward County begins to transition into its phase two of recovery, every responsible regulated public event held will be a small victory toward normalcy. Discovering new ways to safely entertain tourists is going to be the key to South Florida’s economic success.
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