general manager of Informa Group’s U.S. boat shows
What new initiatives has Informa brought to the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show?
One of the most noteworthy changes to the 2018 show is the redesign and repositioning of the main entrance. We worked this year with EDSA—an internationally acclaimed planning, landscape and design firm—to create a truly welcoming and efficient plaza entrance. In the past, we had the same congested entrance for exhibitor trucks and guests. Our new entrance and layout greatly enhance the flow of visitors. The entry is several hundred yards to the north of the Bahia Mar hotel and marina property, along Seabreeze Boulevard, just south of the International Swimming Hall of Fame and Marina. There will also be improved, state-of-the-art security that does not require guards to spend time searching each and every bag. We will also have a special VIP and exhibitor gate.
What about the rest of the show once attendees are inside?
We have enhanced the large main tents to create one large tent rather than two separate tents, and we produced a better air-conditioning system. Also, you can have access to the equipment and supplies tent prior to the 10 a.m. opening of the show for some early browsing and shopping. All around, we have created a more upscale environment. We have a terrific new catering company, Proof of the Pudding, that is handling all food and beverage. We are hosting myriad special events such as a chefs’ competition.
What sets Fort Lauderdale apart from other shows?
It is a show known to feature many world debuts and offers a selection of boats and products that spans nearly all segments of the recreational boating industry. Also, the show is held in Fort Lauderdale, the yachting capital of North America and the Venice of South Florida. Fort Lauderdale is geared to boating and yachting. We have the infrastructure to accommodate boats of every type, and we cater to the boating lifestyle.