The International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition & Conference, held last week in Tampa, Fla., drew nearly 6,500 marine industry professionals, which organizers said was a 4 percent increase from 2016.
“I’m so relieved we could keep IBEX on schedule and thrilled the industry supported our decision,” IBEX show director Anne Dunbar said in a statement. “Coming together so soon after Irma was difficult, but it was the right thing to do. Tampa needed us here, and our industry needed to gather. It was important for us to recognize the impact Irma had, and we are happy we were able to make a donation to Feeding Tampa Bay and host a special session on hurricane recovery. From everyone at IBEX, a big thank you to the marine industry for your support and participation.”
International professionals from more than 50 countries made up more than 7 percent of the attendance. Organizers reported an increased number of no-shows this year, acknowledging the impact Hurricane Irma had on registrants’ ability to attend.
More than 600 exhibiting companies, representing a 9.7 percent increase from last year, filled 123,435 square feet of space. Only 13 exhibitors were unable to be at the show because of Irma.
The full IBEX dock build-out did not take place because the company that had been contracted to assemble the docks for the show was called to work on post-Irma recovery efforts. The Tampa Convention Center, which hosted the event, temporarily moved boats from the facility’s permanent docks so they could be used for the in-water displays. Twenty-four boats were used to display marine equipment on the water
IBEX will return to Tampa from Oct. 2-4 next year.