Surf Expo cuts a day to avoid Irma damage
Surf Expo has announced it has cut the final day of this season's trade show taking place in Orlando in anticipation of Hurricane Irma making landfall in Florida this weekend. The show will now end on Friday at 5pm.
As Irma gains in strength and potential for destruction, exhibitors have experienced many cancellations of appointments from buyers who are no longer going to attend the show. In an official notice on the show's site, exhibitors are being "strongly encourage[d] to contact [their] personal insurance agent now for further insights on how to address [their] investments in this event."
Surf Expo traditionally features 2,500 booths during its three day show. It offers 200 new brands the chance to get out in front of buyers and includes an on water demo day. Brand exhibitors include Hurley, Quiksilver and Roxy, RVCA, Roark, HippyTree, O'Neill, Fossil, Havianas and Margaritaville.
One exhibitor, Surftech, issued a public statement on the brand's Facebook page. Surftech CEO John Vance said, "We know Orlando is going to be an epicenter for the evacuation efforts and we don't want to take hotel rooms and flights away from people seeking safety."
Indeed, the Hyatt Regency adjacent to Surf Expo's venue has been reporting simultaneous room cancellations from exhibitors and room bookings from South Floridians making preparations to get out of the way of the storm.
Hurricane Irma is currently a Category 5 storm. It is expected to be downgraded to a Category 4 storm by the time it hits Florida on Sunday morning. Meteorologists do not know where it will hit specifically although they are anticipating 145mph winds.
The State of Florida lifted toll restrictions to allow for easier evacuations in anticipation of the storm. A state of emergency has already been declared for all of Florida's 67 counties and all state offices are closed on Friday to ensure employees prepare and evacuate accordingly.
The Miami Design District issued a statement saying the neighborhood will be closed now until further notice. Events scheduled for September 10th as well as free public tours and family day have been canceled. Once the storm passes the team will reach out with "pertinent updates."
Currently Surf Expo is not offering refunds to exhibitors who want to cancel and is being met with social media backlash. It is unclear whether the trade show will change its position, although the recommendation that exhibitors contact their personal insurance companies suggests no refunds will be offered.
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