Staying Afloat: 2021 FLIBS Stuns with $1.79 Bil boom for Florida’s Economy
The Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show no longer has to row for shore after generating another record-breaking economic success for the state of Florida.
According to a study completed in February 2022 by Thomas J. Murray & Associates, The Marine Industries Association of South Florida (MIASF), owners of FLIBS, are proud to announce that their 62nd Annual Show contributed an incredible $1.79 billion to Florida’s economy in 2021.
“The unprecedented economic contributions the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show continues to make to the local, regional, and state economy should be recognized,” noted Phil Purcell, CEO and President of the Marine Industries Association of South Florida.
“Since the show’s inception, it has enjoyed year-over-year growth and today helps sustain more than 149,000 marine industry jobs in the tri-county area. The show is also an integral contributor to the more than $12.5 billion in total economic output generated by the South Florida marine industry annually. This show doesn’t leave our community after its five days, it has a resounding impact the other 360 days as well.”
The study revealed an eye-watering $899 million in direct sales over the course of the show, generating an $845 million in sales tax benefit to the state of Florida, with around $24.5 million going towards Broward County alone.
Other highlights of the show’s success of course include the overall $1.79 billion in economic output through show purchases and economic expenditures, $609.7 million in estimated sales by Florida companies, $85.8 million in state and local taxes, $580.4 million in statewide personal income. To top it off, $47.3 million in total expenditures by non-local visitors and exhibitors, with an average spend of $241 per day.
FLIBS is still the largest yacht show in the world to date and has a history of pushing through when times are tough. After the devastation that Hurricane Wilma left behind in South Florida in 2005, the site was left in ruins. Albeit a rougher form than usual, the organisers still managed to open on time.
With over 60 years of history, and incidences of heat waves and other natural disasters, the show has never been cancelled, and with the COVID:19 pandemic looming in the background, this time round is no different.
Despite the ongoing challenges of the pandemic and its travel restrictions, Andrew Doole, President of U.S. Boat Shows for Informa Markets was able to celebrate after experiencing the show’s largest attendance to date. He added, “The show’s importance to the global marine community is unprecedented, providing access to both business-to-business and business-to-consumer opportunities. We are grateful for the relationships we have with our local and regional leaders who deserve tremendous credit in ensuring we could continue to produce a world-class event in 2021.”
After the hardships of 2020, businesses have struggled immensely. The poverty rate in Florida is 15.5%, meaning 1 out of every 6 residents are currently living under the restraints of poor housing and little-to-no income. Although the show has faced recent criticism for going ahead during the COVID:19 crisis, organisers ensured all exhibitors and attendees that the necessary and appropriate safety measures were to be put in place.
Despite the initial upset, there is no denying that the show has had a monumental widespread impact on the day-to-day lives of Floridian workers and residents – and it’s still ongoing. With over 100,000+ visitors to the 2021 show, and just under half from outside the state of Florida, local businesses and the hospitality sector have thrived as a direct result, including restaurants, hotels, and retail.
With last year’s show being a huge commercial triumph, it serves as a warm reminder to the industry that businesses may be moving in a positive direction, and that yachting events can still take place accordingly. One thing is clear – the show must go on.
The 2022 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show takes place from the 26th-30th October. We look forward to its unveiling in the months to come.
"The show’s importance to the global marine community is unprecedented. We are grateful for the relationships we have with our local and regional leaders who deserve tremendous credit in ensuring we could continue to produce a world-class event in 2021."