Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show has $1.3 billion economic impact

The 2019 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show generated $1.3 billion in statewide economic output, up 51 percent from a 2015 study that found $857 million in output.

Thomas J. Murray and Associates Inc. conducted the study of the world’s largest in-water boat show, which was released this week by The Marine Industries Association of South Florida, owners of the show, and Informa Markets U.S. Boat Shows, producer of the show.

Total sales of $715.4 million were up 40.8 percent from $508 million—more than $143 million in direct sales per day of the five-day 60th anniversary show, held October 30th through November 3rd, 2019,

Phil Purcell

“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, said Phil Purcell, MIASF’s CEO and president.

Other highlights in the study include:

  • sales and excise taxes of $69 million in Florida, with $20.7 million occurring in Broward County (up from $51.2 million in taxes, with $16.9 million in Broward County)
  • 61% of nearly 100,000 visitors came from outside the region, 49% were from outside Florida, and 10% were from outside the U.S. (up from 58%, 54%, and 10%, respectively)
  • visitors spent an average of $226 per day and were responsible for more than 72,000 room nights in local hotels (up from an average of $208 per day and 69,000 room nights)
  • more than 8,000 full-time jobs are associated with the show and exhibitors expended $13.1 million in exhibit space and local goods and services (up from 6,000 jobs and $12.9 million in exhibitor expenditures)
  • More than 200 vessels of 80 feet or greater were displayed


Andrew Doole was featured on SFBW’s cover

President of Informa Markets U.S. Boats Shows, Andrew Doole, said, “FLIBS is the largest in-water boat show in the world and has been an economic powerhouse for many years. The notable increases in its economic impact are a testament to its significance to the marine industry, the local and state economy, and further solidifies its rank among leading boat shows around the world. The increase in sales demonstrates that quality buyers are attending and that the show’s growth and improvements continue to be well-received.”

Doole said he was looking forward to the 2020 show and alluded to the impact of the pandemic.

“There is a lot of pent-up demand to get back to life on the water and to spend quality time with family and friends in the great outdoors. FLIBS spans nearly 90 acres across seven waterfront locations and we are excited to bring the marine community and boating enthusiasts back together.”


An executive summary of the latest FLIBS economic report can be found by clicking here.


Kevin Gale
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