World’s Largest Boat Show in Fort Lauderdale On Course for November 3rd Opening

Move-In Continues For 46th Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show(R) – Nov. 3-6, 2005 at Five Sites

Dramatic Daily Progress in Region’s Recovery From Hurricane Wilma; Nearly 70 Percent of Power Restored As Of Sunday

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Oct. 31 /PRNewswire/ — The 46th Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show(R) will be ready to wow visitors on Thursday, November 3rd, with more than 1,400 boats on land and in water at five sites, plus myriad other exhibits with everything imaginable for boating enthusiasts. The show runs through Sunday, November 6th.

“The show will go on, and that’s good news for many, many people here in Fort Lauderdale, throughout the South Florida region and the state, as well as for the marine industry worldwide,” said Kaye Pearson, president of Yachting Promotions, producers of the show. “In South Florida alone, thousands of people in the workforce rely on the show every year to help them make a living — restaurant servers, hotel staff, cab drivers and so forth in addition to all the marine-related businesses,” said Pearson, adding that the show will also provide visitors with a welcome diversion from the woes created by Hurricane Wilma.

Convention Center Confirmed

Exhibitor move-in to the Broward County Convention Center begins Monday, October 31st, after show organizers confirmed the availability of this fifth show site on Friday, October 28th.

A Seascape of Boats and Yachts

As move-in continues at the show’s four in-water sites — Bahia Mar Yachting Center, Hall of Fame Marina, Las Olas Marina and Marriott Portside Marina — the “seascape” of endless boats and yachts is taking shape. The in- water portion of the show alone will feature more than 850 boats, with hundreds more on land at these sites and the Broward County Convention Center.

Travel and Hotels

The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) reports that approximately 90% of hotels will be operational within five hours of the restoration of power. Nikki Grossman, president of the CVB, says she is convinced the city’s infrastructure will be up and running by Thursday to accommodate show exhibitors and guests.

MarineCierge, a comprehensive service offering marine travel and concierge services, is providing free travel services for visitors to the upcoming show whose travel plans may have been impacted by the rescheduling of the show due to Hurricane Wilma. Travel counselors are available to help show attendees rebook flights, change hotel reservations and reserve rental cars. Call 1 866-4CIERGE (866-424-3743) or (954) 620-6041 and mention the show for free assistance 24/7, or visit http://www.marinecierge.com/.

Airports

All three of South Florida’s major airports and all three general aviation airports have been open since last week and are fully operational.

Power & Gasoline

As of Sunday, October 30th, Florida Power & Light (FPL) reports that power has been restored to nearly 70% of its customers throughout South Florida. As a result of this dramatic progress in power restoration — more and more gas stations are operational, and wait times are dramatically reduced. “On Sunday, I saw stations in downtown Fort Lauderdale with no lines,” said Frank Herhold, executive director of the Marine Industries Association of South Florida.

Getting Back to Normal

With every passing day, the sense of normalcy is returning to the region, with restaurants and shops re-opening for business and the re-opening of Fort Lauderdale beach to the public on Sunday. The City of Fort Lauderdale City Hall will open for normal business hours on Monday, October 31st.

City and Industry Leaders Voice their Support

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle has voiced the city’s support for the work of show organizers in moving ahead with the show in the wake of Hurricane Wilma, and for their help in restoring portions of the Fort Lauderdale Beach area where the show is held.

“The show is helping out with cleanup of things like the public parking areas near the show sites, which frees up much needed equipment and personnel for the city to get to other areas more quickly,” said Naugle. Naugle confirmed that all city roadways have been cleared, and that more traffic signals are coming back on line thanks to increasing power restoration, which will help facilitate auto travel to the show.

According to Frank Herhold, “We are excited to see recovery moving at such a swift pace throughout the region, and how everyone is readying themselves for the Boat Show’s opening on Thursday. This show is not only a significant marker for the marine industry — but also for the local and state economies, as the marine industry is among the top three industries in the State.”

Many other marine industry leaders have also voiced their belief that “the show must go on,” despite the challenges of the short time frame between the original show dates and the rescheduled dates.

As marine industry veteran Pete Woods said when asked by a Sun-Sentinel newspaper reporter about the new show dates: “If you want to be first-team varsity, you gotta play hurt sometimes.” Woods, who is the vice president of brokerage sales for MarineMax, said MarineMax will have a number of yachts on display at the show.

Show Sites/Hours/Participants/Information:

Show Sites:
+ Bahia Mar Yachting Center
+ Broward County Convention Center
+ Hall of Fame Marina
+ Las Olas Marina
+ Marriott Portside Marina

Show Hours:
+ 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. (Thu., Fri., Sat. – 11/3 to 11/5)
+ 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. (Sun. – 11/6)

Show Participants

For a sampling of exhibitors who will have displays at the show, including major boat builders from around the world, visit the show’s web sites: http://www.showmanagement.com/ or http://www.flibs.net/.

For Public Information:
+ Call the on-site Show Office at (954) 527-9332; or
+ Visit: http://www.showmanagement.com/ or http://www.flibs.net/

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