Burgess held an industry panel discussion onboard Cakewalk last month during the 2013 Ft Lauderdale International Boat Show. During the event, a panel of industry experts came to the conclusion that North America is still the most significant market for the yachting industry, ahead of Russia and the Middle East.

Burgess president & CEO Jonathan Beckett was a key member of the panel alongside president & CEO of Show Management Skip Zimbalist, president of the Florida Yacht Brokers Association Lon McCloskey, and Michael Moore of Moore & Co and chairman of the board for the International SeaKeepers Society. Jill Bobrow, editor-at-large for Yachts International magazine, moderated the discussion.

The panellists debated where today’s serious buyers are based, with Beckett concluding: “North America remains our single biggest market. The appetite for yachting here is very strong. South America has an increasingly important presence in the yachting industry, and Russia and the Middle East continue to push the demand for ever larger vessels.”

The current trend for building extremely large superyachts was discussed further and the panel ventured opinions on whether this is sustainable. “Yachts are increasing in size,” said Beckett. “But, it’s a very finite market. There are probably only 50 people in the world who want to own a 100m-plus yacht. Several years down the line, I could see there perhaps being 50 of those megayachts out there, with only 49 buyers.”

Panellists were quick to point out that the Ft Lauderdale International Boat Show caters to many levels of clients, ranging from those looking for a small fishing boat, to a 60m superyacht. “Unlike the shows in Europe, FLIBS was designed for everyone,” said Zimbalist. “Our challenge is catering to each of those groups.”

Zimbalist said that attendance on the first day of the show had increased by 40 per cent from 2012, signalling that green shoots of post-recession recovery are now tangible.