Bigger crowds boosted IBEX at new location

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Organizers of the International BoatBuilders' Exhibition & Conference said today that the 2014 show attracted 6,900 conferees last week to Tampa, Fla.

As reported in Trade Only Today last Friday, that represents a 47 percent increase from 2013, when the industry trade show was held in Louisville, Ky.

Additionally, 558 companies exhibited at the Tampa Convention Center, a 15 percent increase from the 2013 show.

"IBEX in Tampa offered an impressive increase in our attendance and exhibitor participation and a significant wow factor," IBEX show director Anne Dunbar said in a statement. "The new products and technologies introduced this year were incredible and you could feel the excitement and enthusiasm all three days of the show."

In addition to the spike in attendance and exhibitors, seminar registration was up as more than 500 conferees participated, an increase of 6 percent from 2013, and there was a 35 percent increase in international attendance.

Participants saw the growth of IBEX as a reflection of the state of the industry.

"We're anticipating good times ahead for recreational boating,” National Marine Manufacturers Association president Thom Dammrich said at the Industry Breakfast. “The industry continues to see healthy growth, with retail expenditures increasing 3.2 percent in 2013, to $36.9 billion. Americans are taking to the water in record numbers, and we're anticipating continued steady growth of 5 to 7 percent in new powerboat sales through 2014. Now is the time for marine innovation."

The 2015 IBEX is scheduled for Sept. 15-17 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville.