Representatives of Port St. Maarten, SMMTA and international marina agents.

PHILIPSBURG--A delegation from Port St. Maarten, St. Maarten Marine Trade Association (SMMTA) and other local stakeholders has recently returned from the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

FLIBS, organised by Marine Industries Association of South Florida (MIASF) and produced by Informa Markets, is recognised as the largest in-water boat show in the world. The boat show has more than three million square feet of exhibit space and attracts approximately 110,000 attendees and 1,200 exhibitors representing 52 countries. It usually also has more than 1,500 boats on display.

“Attending the boat show allowed us to gain insight into the latest trends and developments in the ever-expanding fleet of superyachts. St. Maarten remains a very important destination for the global luxury yacht charter sector.

“Some local marine stakeholders, as well as 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 capitalised upon.

“We all agreed that an economic impact study of the sector is crucial with respect to crew and visitor expenditures … 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, is 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 said on Wednesday.

This year’s boat show is the 60th edition of FLIBS. The event attracted an ever-expanding fleet of superyachts, sport fishing vessels, go-fast boats and submersibles. The largest mega yacht in the show was Madsummer, a 311-foot vessel launched by Lürssen. Built in 2019, the mega yacht can house up to 20 guests in its 10 staterooms.

The boat show generates sales exceeding US $508 million.