IBEX returns Tuesday with more than 650 exhibitors

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The 2017 International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition & Conference is set for the Tampa Convention Center in Florida.

The 2017 edition of the International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition & Conference kicks off Tuesday and will continue through Thursday at the Tampa Convention Center in Florida with 108 new exhibitors.

“We are maximizing the space at the TCC to accommodate more exhibitors, so this year there are more than 650 exhibitors,” show director Anne Dunbar told Trade Only Today. “And more exhibitors means more new companies, more new products and more access to new technology.”

The theme for IBEX 2017 is “All Tech on Deck,” highlighting the fact that the event will feature more new technology and products than ever before.

“We are working on a new plan to add more exhibit space for IBEX 2018 so we can accommodate more exhibiting companies,” Dunbar said.

A Grow Boating marketing summit will take place today from 1-5 p.m., and the annual Industry Breakfast will be held Tuesday from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. at the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel.

National Marine Manufacturers Association president Thom Dammrich will deliver a state-of-the-industry address at the breakfast, and Olympic hockey star Jim Craig, best known as the heart and soul of the “Miracle on Ice” 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team, will be the keynote speaker.

RAI Amsterdam, the group that owns and produces the Marine Equipment Trade Show — now known as Metstrade — bought out WoodenBoat Publications’ 50 percent stake in the show last October.

Professional BoatBuilder magazine, which is published by WoodenBoat Publications, remains the event’s media education partner and is still involved in crafting technical seminars, Dunbar said.

RAI and co-owner the National Marine Manufacturers Association are working to engage more industry partners and offer expanded exhibits to “engage and involve all segments of the industry at IBEX,” Dunbar says.

Still, there will be no noticeable difference at the show following the change, organizers say. “So far the new partnership is going very well, and we find our new Dutch colleagues to be very smart, capable and supportive partners with a lot of great ideas,” Dunbar said. “They invested in IBEX because it is the leading marine trade show in North America, and they have no intention of changing a good thing.”

“We’ve been partners with the RAI now for 10 months and it’s going great,” Dammrich said. “We’re looking for ways to enhance the show in future years.”

Get daily reports from the show this week in Trade Only Today.