FLIBS 2020: Informa’s President Andrew Doole discusses show plans

Informa U.S. Boat Shows
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After the large majority of live events have been cancelled this year, last week’s news from Fort Lauderdale may have been a pleasant surprise for many.

After a series of government meetings, it was finally confirmed that the 2020 edition of the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS) will go ahead.

The set up may not quite be the same as there are many health and safety protocols that will be added, but show organisers Informa are confident the show will be a success and is exactly what the industry needs at this time. To find out more about their new adapted plans to host the show, SuperYacht Times spoke with Andrew Doole, President of Informa U.S. Boat Shows, who shared some insight into the situation.

Did you have any doubts that FLIBS would not be allowed to happen? What were the reasons it was allowed to go ahead?

In my opinion, unless the state was shut down again there was no reason to shut down the event. It is a shame that other shows have been cancelled. In Florida, the number of positive covid-19 cases has been declining. We are looking forward to Broward County and the City of Fort Lauderdale moving into phase two of reopening.

We recognise the importance of the show and have spoken with key stakeholders, customers and local government officials, and the resounding response has been in support of moving forward with the event. Also, the very detailed operational plan we submitted met both city and county protocols. It is a 40-page document on how we are going to operate the show and includes our AllSecure plan which outlines our significant efforts to safeguard the show.

What health and safety measures can visitors expect to find? Has Informa seen these measures in practice at any other events?

Face coverings will be required across the whole site and everyone will be able to social distance with visible markers every 1.5 metres. We have an enormous amount of hand sanitising stations, thermo-imaging systems for temperature checks and an air purification system that can change 3,000 cubic feet of air every hour.

Informa has hosted multiple safe and successful events in Asia using the temperature scanning machines and the AllSecure health and safety guidelines. These machines can scan multiple people at a time.

We have a strict regime for enhanced cleaning throughout the show – including on our increased water taxi and bus services. Food and drink services will also be adapted with single-use, disposable covered containers to keep everyone safe. All of these details and more have been shared on our website, so hopefully, visitors will know what to expect.

If the turnout isn’t as expected, are the show organisers predicted to or willing to make a loss?

There are many positive factors that are contributing to our optimism: the rise in boat sales since the onset of the pandemic, the pent-up demand for life on the water and that more than 80% of the show is completely outdoors.

The additional plans have been made possible at a huge expense in order to safeguard the show so that each and every exhibitor and attendee can participate with confidence. The show is really important, not only for the industry but to the South Florida community. Hotels, restaurants and many other small businesses rely on the show happening – especially as last year’s show generated a $1.3billion economic impact. We are looking forward to an active show.

FLIBS 2020: Informa’s President Andrew Doole discusses show plans