PORT ST. MAARTEN – A delegation from Port St. Maarten and other local stakeholders recently returned from the flagship marine event, the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS) in Florida.
Owned by the Marine Industries Association of South Florida (MIASF) and produced by Informa Markets, FLIBS is recognized as the largest in-water boat show in the world. FLIBS spans more than three million square-feet of exhibit space. The five-day show attracts approximately 110,000 attendees and 1,200 exhibitors representing 52 countries with more than 1,500 boats on display each November.
“Attending the boat show allowed us to gain insight into the latest trends and developments of the ever-expanding fleet of superyachts. St. Maarten remains a very important destination for the global luxury yacht charter sector.
“Some of the local mariner stakeholders as well as the St. Maarten Marine Trade Association (SMMTA) were also in attendance. Together we discussed a number of key points on how to grow and how to move the industry forward. It is a market that can be further capitalized upon. We all agreed that an economic impact study of the sector is crucial with respect to crew and visitor expenditures for instance among other important data.
“Based on information derived from such a study, all stakeholders are able to have a better comprehensive understanding of what the market needs. The Port presented aspects of its Strategic Plan to the stakeholders. We had a fruitful dialogue and there is good synergy going forward in having additional discussions and engagement with other stakeholders.
“Our mega/super-yacht sector among other key sectors are dependent on the strength of stakeholder relationships and the level of cooperation and understanding that exists which keeps destination St. Maarten at the forefront of this sector,” Port St. Maarten Management said on Wednesday.
FLIBS also celebrated its 60th anniversary on this occasion. The event attracted an ever-expanding fleet of superyachts, sport fishing vessels, go-fast boats, submersibles. Besides a flotilla of over-the-top vessels from a Mansion Yacht made entirely of stainless steel, to the largest mega-yacht in the show, known as Madsummer, 311 feet launched by Lürssen, is the largest and newest mega yacht, celebrating her world debut at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. Built in 2019, the mega yacht can house up to 20 guests across 10 staterooms.
The trade show generates a substantial annual statewide economic impact of $857 million and features nearly $4 billion in product with show sales exceeding $508 million.