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IBEX has a 23 percent increase in attendance

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The International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition and Conference, held in Tampa, Fla., Oct. 2-4, saw increases in visitors and exhibitors.

The show drew nearly 4,300 verified visitors — a 23 percent increase compared to last year — and had a 10 percent increase in square footage to accommodate more than 700 exhibitors, an increase of 14 percent.

A total of 55 countries were represented at IBEX, a 10 percent increase over last year. In addition, visitors had access to 38 boats on the IBEX docks.

Four international pavilions represented exhibitors from South Korea, Australia, France and Italy. These accompanied four specialty pavilions: the Composite Pavilion, the Marina & Yard Pavilion, the Electronics Pavilion and the Compliance, Standards & Education Pavilion.

The IBEX Education Conference was well attended, with a 27 percent increase in seminars sold. The “Designing for Speed” session had standing room only, with 160 people attending the panel discussion.

The inaugural Vacuum Bag Challenge drew four teams, which were required to vacuum a balloon to 15 inches of mercury without popping it in the fastest time. The winners were Patrick Dender of Accredited Marine Technologies and Adam Blankinship of Schooner Creek Boat Works with a time of 6 minutes, 22 seconds.

“The energy and excitement during IBEX this year was amazing,” show director Anne Dunbar said in a statement. “The positive response to all of our educational offerings, the exhibit halls were packed, and people really took advantage of what IBEX does best, which is bring the newest elements of marine products and technology to our industry, in one place.”

The increase in visitors, exhibitors and exhibit space are indicators that the industry is as strong as ever, Dunbar said.

“It has been a pleasure for the RAI to again partner with the NMMA to produce IBEX,” said RAI Amsterdam maritime director Irene Dros. “Our mission is to combine the best marine resources from the North American market and global marine marketplace. The show attendance proves the success of this approach and the positive state of the market. We look forward to carrying the excellent vibe into next year’s event.”

IBEX returns to Tampa next year and runs Oct. 1-3.

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