The National Marine Manufacturers Association Thursday reported a 9 percent decrease in attendance at the 2011 International BoatBuilders' Exhibition & Conference.
Total attendance was 4,672, compared with 5,161 the previous year at the event, which was held for a second year at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville.
The NMMA said that although attendance was down, it received many comments that the 2011 event attracted a quality crowd and that exhibitors saw the people they wanted to see and reported strong business leads. The NMMA co-produces the show with Professional BoatBuilder magazine.
"IBEX was fantastic for the National Marine Representatives Association,” NMRA president Chris Kelly said. “We had excellent traffic at our booth. Our workshop on harnessing the power of independent reps was a success. The attendees were happy with the content, and the IBEX team was very helpful along the way. We're already planning bigger things for IBEX 2012."
The NMMA said reasons for the drop in registration included the Oct. 17-19 dates of the show and their proximity to the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. That caused some boatbuilders to send fewer people because they were needed at plants to get boats ready, the NMMA said.
The NMMA said there were more than 60 first-time exhibitors at the show and that exhibit space at the conference totaled 103,900 square feet, an 8 percent increase from 95,700 the previous year. The NMMA also said international attendance was strong because of a favorable exchange rate.
"We were pleasantly surprised at the strong International presence at this year’s IBEX,” said Ron Bailey of Turning Point Propellers. “Turning Point closed deals that added distributors in Germany, Puerto Rico, and Turkey during the show, we had meaningful discussions with a new Japanese customer, and we fielded serious inquiries from potential customers in South/Central America, the EU, Eastern Europe and the Caribbean."
The NMMA also said the conference’s expanded seminar series was well-received and that a majority of exhibitors and visitors seemed pleased with the Louisville location.
Show producers have a 10-year commitment to Louisville. The 2012 IBEX will be held Oct. 2-4.