The 22nd annual International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition and Conference (IBEX) is scheduled to take place October 2-4, 2012, at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville. The trade show and industry gathering is owned and co-produced by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and Professional BoatBuilder magazine.
“It’s not too early to start planning for IBEX 2012,” said co-director Carl Cramer. “The boating business is finally starting to turn the corner, and at IBEX you can get a jump-start on the business upsurge by seeing what’s on the horizon in new products for the coming year, learning about new technologies and techniques, making deals, engaging with customers, meeting with your distribution partners and networking with your peers.”
IBEX show management anticipates an increase in attendance as the marine industry business climate continues to improve. “With more than 100,000 sq ft of exhibit space, 500+ exhibitors, 90+ technical/business seminars, 12+ free exhibitor workshops and three full days of meetings with business partners and trade customers, IBEX will be the premier trade event on the boating industry calendar for 2012,” said Cramer. “IBEX is moving beyond its traditional core market of production and custom boatbuilders, and is becoming an industry-wide event with something for everyone. We’ll again be featuring an outdoor demo area, Connect Fest, sponsored by the National Marine Electronics Association (NMEA), and the dedicated Aftermarket Pavilion sponsored bySoundings Trade Only will offer exhibits, seminars and events tailored to the interests of distributors and retailers and much more.”
IBEX is moving to a new time slot for 2012, two weeks earlier than 2011. “Under our agreement with the Kentucky Exposition Center, we will gradually move it earlier on the calendar over the next two years into a mid-September timeframe, which research has shown is the most desirable time for exhibitors and attendees,” said Cramer.
Last year’s IBEX, held Oct. 17-19, was a successful event despite the economic slump affecting the boating business, with 555 exhibitors, including 41 international companies from 11 countries, showing their products and services to 4,672 marine industry professionals attending. There were also 90 seminars in 14 different tracks presenting technical information as well as management, service and operations.
“IBEX has been and remains important to us because during these last few years of a slower than average economy, our experience has been that the quality of attendees has been much higher,” said Ronnie Free of Frees, Inc., a long-time exhibitor at IBEX. “By quality I mean that the persons visiting our booth were in key decision making positions. We are seeing more owners and top executives. And the value of seeing our customers, getting to say thank you and getting to say hello to old friends is priceless.”