Organizers said the 2017 International BoatBuilders' Exhibition & Conference will be more accessible for international participants through two new features, including the International B2B VIP Program, and expanded exhibits from global vendors throughout the show floor.
IBEX will be held Sept. 19-21 at the Tampa (Fla.) Convention Center for the first time since the announcement that Metstrade and IBEX joined forces to service the global marine marketplace.
"IBEX has always had a solid international following, and our new partnership with Metstrade will only increase our global visibility and reach," IBEX show director Anne Dunbar in a statement. "To better serve this growing market, we are pleased to be offering this initiative to assist new international marine professionals from overseas who come to sell and source new products and network with industry peers."
IBEX is introducing the International B2B VIP Program, which will offer first-time business-to-business overseas buyers a VIP invitation to the show.
With a VIP buyer's badge, attendees will have access to the show's IBEX B2B VIP Lounge with complimentary Wi-Fi, refreshments and light snacks, lunch vouchers for two days and an invitation to a networking cocktail cruise on Sept. 20.
To qualify, attendees must be first-time visitors to IBEX from another country; must be an established manufacturer, boatbuilder, distributor, marine retailer/dealer, marina/boatyard or other B2B entity; and must have clear specifications on the products they are seeking.
"If you are looking to source quality-made American products and peruse some of the show's list of growing international exhibitors, IBEX affords international buyers an alternate opportunity to source in the USA,” said Julie Balzano, senior director of export development for the National Marine Manufacturers Association. “The show is located just a short distance away from the Tampa International Airport, with more than 70 nonstop flights allowing you to get where you need to go quickly and easily.”
In addition to the B2B VIP Program, about half of the 70 international companies in the exhibit halls and Marina and Yard Pavilion are new to the event.
Those exhibitors will display products from countries that include Australia, South Korea, United Kingdom, Norway, Italy, Sweden, Germany, Slovenia, Belgium, China, Taiwan and the Netherlands.