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IBEX 2011: More exhibitors, more seminars highlight show

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The 2011 International BoatBuilders' Exhibition & Conference wraps up this afternoon at the Kentucky Exposition Center, and organizers said they've heard good reports from attendees and exhibitors.

“The show has a great buzz to it,” is a comment Professional BoatBuilder magazine publisher Carl Cramer heard on the show floor. The magazine, along with the National Marine Manufacturers Association, produces the show.

“For my part, I’m very pleased,” Cramer added. “People still love Louisville, including me.”

NMMA president Thom Dammrich said he’s heard, “The quality of attendance has been excellent. Traffic is a little slow, but it’s really good traffic.” Exhibitors have told him they are seeing the right people, he added.

This year’s show included 555 exhibitors, up slightly from about 550 last year, and 91 seminars — a 30 percent increase from 2010. The aftermarket pavilion, sponsored by Soundings Trade Only, included 52 exhibitors.

There were more than 60 first-time exhibitors this year, Dammrich noted. That’s a good sign, as it means people want to develop new products for the marine industry and think it’s a valuable industry in which to do business and grow their companies, he added.

Attendance figures were not immediately available, but Cramer said he’s hoping it will be at least on par with last year. In 2010, IBEX saw a 13 percent increase in attendance versus 2009, with 5,161 people attending, compared with 4,567 the previous year.

Dammrich said he’d still like to see more dealers come to the show. IBEX, he said, is the place to see what’s available in the aftermarket, as well as what dealers can expect to see on the new boats they’ll order the following year.

Combining IBEX with the marine dealers’ conference, for example, could help bring the entire industry together, he added.

“The industry has shrunk so much, we really need to pull together,” Dammrich said.

Show producers have a 10-year commitment to Louisville, with next year’s show set for Oct. 2-4. After 2012, the show moves back to its more traditional dates at the end of September.

“It’s been once again a great IBEX,” Cramer said. “I can’t wait to be back here a year from now.”

— Beth Rosenberg

b.rosenberg@tradeonlytoday.com

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