Organizers of the International BoatBuilders' Exhibition & Conference reported a 13 percent increase in attendance at this year's event, which took place Sept. 28-30 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville.
According to organizers, 5,161 people attended IBEX this year, compared with 4,567 in 2009, when the event was held in Miami Beach. IBEX is produced by the National Marine Manufacturers Association and Professional Boat Builder magazine.
This was the first year in the event's 20-year history that it was held outside South Florida. It was also the first time a MAATS aftermarket pavilion was part of the show.
Exhibitors were overwhelmingly pleased with this year's show. Many said they'd seen new and existing customers and came away with solid leads.
"This year's IBEX in Louisville has been very positive," said Frank Marciano, president of Dometic Marine, which won an Innovation Award at the show. "As always, the show provided a great platform to launch our new products to the U.S. trade. It was also beneficial to have MAATS integrated this year as we got a chance to address OEM and aftermarket business in the same venue."
"The show has been excellent," added Dave Lerbs, manager, sales and marketing, for Indel Webasto Marine USA. "We've had a lot of traffic from major boatbuilders. We've seen some distributors as well. It is a down economy and a lot of people are looking to economize on their travel, so it was good to see as many people as we saw at the show."
Next year's IBEX takes place Oct. 17-19, 2011, in Louisville.
For a full report on IBEX, see the November issue of Soundings Trade Only.
— Beth Rosenberg