The “Spring Season” of South Florida boat shows recently came to a close with the 32nd annual Palm Beach International Boat Show, which this year ran from March 23-26.
Despite a soggy opening day, which may have kept some boating enthusiasts at bay, the 2017 edition of the Palm Beach International Boat Show (PBIBS) saw a 14 percent increase in overall attendance from last year, according to PBIBS organizer, Show Management. While official attendance numbers have yet to be released, according to the Sun Sentinel, the show typically attracts more than 40,000 visitors.
Debuts and Details
The four-day major boating event opened on Thursday, March 23, and wrapped up on Sunday, the 26th. According to show organizers, this year the number of boats on display was the largest in the event’s history, which included a 6% percent increase in vessels in the water and a 17 percent jump for boats in the 80-to-100-foot category.
“Year after year this show continues to grow in exhibitor participation and guest attendance, which speaks to both the strength of the boating industry and the unique, global appeal of Palm Beach as its location,” said Andrew Doole, senior vice president and COO of Show Management, the event’s producer and manager.
Perhaps owing to the recent acquisition of Show Management, to the same company that produces the Monaco Yacht show, this year’s PBIBS sported more of a “European Flair.” For example, Italian luxury motor yacht maker, Benetti, used the Palm Beach boat show to officially debut its new 116-foot yacht, and according to the Palm Beach Daily News, “vendor space for the first time has been reserved by several Dutch yacht manufacturers, including Amals, which is scheduled to exhibit Spirit, a 180-foot yacht. Amals joins Dutch shipyards Feadship and Heesen, both of which will have booths at the show for the first time, although neither will be exhibiting a vessel. Moonen, another Dutch manufacturer, and Palumbo of Italy, also are on the vendor roster for the first time.”
“European shipyards these days are eager to reach affluent American buyers, whose stock portfolios have been buoyed of late, even as global economic uncertainty has dampened the prospects of many buyers across the pond,” said Doole.
PBIBS 2017 featured more than $1.2 billion worth of yachts and accessories, including hundreds of boats ranging from small inflatables and tenders, center consoles and sportfishers to some of the largest yachts in the world. All categories reported robust interest from qualified buyers.
Our Takeaway from the 2017 Palm Beach Boat Show
Like the show’s promoters, despite some initial low attendance due to poor weather the first couple of days, we think there was a pretty good turnout at this year’s show. Attendee’s interests, at least in our category of motor yachts between 70-140Ft, seemed to be focused on the larger boats of 80 feet and up.
We had quite a few visitors express interest in the boats we had on display. This seems to follow the trend of the latest Sold Boats Report, which sees the market overall as trending upward, and doing particularly well in the larger boat categories.
This being the case, as we leave the “boat show” season, and head towards the summer, expect to see manufacturers and owners of pre-owned boats in this size range, to offer some very attractive specials and discounts.
Handled right, with a good yacht broker, this time between now and summer can be a great period for both buyers and sellers of luxury motor yachts in the 70 -140 foot category.
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