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IBEX attendance rose slightly this year

The International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition and Conference has announced initial attendance figures for the annual trade show and networking event that took place Oct. 2-4 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville.

Show Director Anne Dunbar said total verified attendance for IBEX 2012 was 4,701, up about 1 percent from 2011.

“IBEX attracts a highly qualified audience,” Dunbar said in a statement. “Although the industry has contracted and consolidated in the last five years, the buyers and engineers who attended represent nearly 75 percent of the industry production and buying power for the marine products and technology at IBEX. As usual, IBEX delivered, with exhibitors unveiling hundreds of new products that will enhance the boating experience.”

Marine professionals attending IBEX came from 31 countries and 46 states. The highest attendance was from Florida, Tennessee, Michigan and Indiana.

“The show went very, very well for us,” Keith Selby, OEM of specialty sales at Kenwood USA, said in a statement. “We had good consistent traffic, and we met with all the key personnel we needed to meet with. This show has always been the best for the industry and continues to be. We will be back next year.”

“Feedback from exhibitors and attendees was very positive, and overall there seemed to be a mood of optimism,” Dunbar said. “Many longtime exhibitors reported that business activity at this year’s IBEX was the best in several years, while first-time exhibitors said the show delivered beyond what they expected.”

“It’s been a great show for us. There’s no question about that. It’s been active and engaging, and we’ve made a ton of contacts that we were looking forward to making in the industry,” My-Villages founder and CEO Kevin Hutchinson said in a statement.

The tone for IBEX 2012 was set by the State of the Industry report by Thom Dammrich, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association, at the All-Industry Breakfast on Oct. 2. About 300 marine professionals attended.

Steve M. Murdock, former director of the U.S. Census, spoke about changing demographic trends in the U.S. population and how they will affect the boating industry.

Next year, IBEX will be held Sept. 17-19 at the Kentucky Exposition Center.

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