The International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition and Conference closed with positive feedback from exhibitors and attendees, according to organizers.
The virtual event drew nearly 3,000 visitors from 25 countries, and more than 1,650 exhibitor representatives from 474 companies participated, representing 10 countries, according to organizers.
“I can appreciate the immense effort that has gone into converting the massive IBEX show into a digital format in such a short period of time,” Daniel Cortez, general manager of Bayside Marine and Shallow Stalker Boat, said in a statement.
Cortez said he appreciated being able to safely meet potential new business partners during the pandemic.
Organizers said there were more than 4,000 connections made and 700 meetings conducted. “The danger of Covid is very real, and IBEX would not be possible without such a digital platform,” Cortez said. “The training seminars are always terrific, and it's nice to be able to ask questions afterward.”
The IBEX Online sessions saw strong participation, with 135 full-conference attendees taking in more than 50 educational and keynote assemblies. The sessions were produced by exhibiting companies and education partners, including Professional BoatBuilder magazine, the American Boat Builders and Repairers Association, the American Boat and Yacht Council, the Association of Marina Industries, the National Marine Electronics Association, the Rhode Island Marine Trades Association, and IBEX co-owner the National Marine Manufacturers Association.
IBEX Online showcased 1,077 products, including the 2020 Innovation Award entrants and the award-winning products.
“Despite sitting behind a screen from the other side of the pond, it is remarkable to see there is a new kind of IBEX vibe in the making,” said Bas Jan Veldhoen, founder of Netherlands-based Surefas. “Even virtually, it is great to see such enthusiasm for about the smallest items on deck, as we introduce new and better fasteners to hold down textiles.”
“Taking a large, powerful live event like IBEX and adjusting it in a short timeframe to a virtual event was a difficult transition for all of us, but with the industry’s support, it worked,” show director Anne Dunbar said.
“We tried something new, and together we all learned how to navigate a sophisticated connection platform,” Dunbar added. “Of course, we can’t fully re-create the unexpected connections, fortuitous business opportunities and spontaneous inspirations that can only happen when walking down the aisles of IBEX, which is why we look forward to seeing everyone in person at IBEX 2021.”