The 29th International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition and Conference (IBEX) closed on Thursday, October 3rd with early indications that attendance figures were up from last year for the three-day event. IBEX was a tremendous success with more than 700 exhibitors – 100+ new to the Show – from 25 countries filling the 138 thousand square feet of exhibit space. The International Pavilions included exhibitors from Australia, France, Italy, Slovenia and South Korea, which accompanied the four Specialty Pavilions: the Compliance, Standards and Education Pavilion; Composites Pavilion; Marina & Yard Pavilion, and the NMEA Connected Boat Experience.
The IBEX Docks and expanded Outdoor Displays saw more traffic than in past years. With 30 boats in slips outside the convention center, show visitors were able to participate in live product demonstrations. The recent renovation to the Sail Pavilion added more space for the Outdoor Displays, adding to the overall experience at IBEX.
The IBEX Education Conference was well attended with the pre-conference Super Sessions bringing in more than 300 participants before the exhibit halls opened. The Special Session: Return to Thunderboat Row kicked off the 60 session seminar series, which ran all three days of the event. The 2nd Annual Vacuum Bag Challenge was a popular attraction again this year, as were the models from the Design Challenge finalists, produced onsite with a 3D printer.
Two new additions to IBEX were also a success. The Digital Innovators Pop-Up Show had standing room only as 10 start-up companies offering new technology for the industry pitched their products and met with press and other show attendees. And the Marinas of the Future presentation showcased the latest in marina product development in the Marina & Yard Pavilion.
“We do a lot of shows but this is our first time exhibiting at IBEX and it has been one of our best experiences yet,” said Clint Jones, President International Sales, Propspeed. “We got the opportunity to meet with some of our biggest customers and had meetings that potentially will result in some very big partnerships. Being at IBEX has added another level of credibility to our brand and we will definitely be exhibiting again next year.”
“In my 40 years of doing first IMTEC, and now IBEX – I have never seen a better group of industry wide buyers that were seriously looking for new and different products,” said Pat Brown, President, Teak Isle Manufacturing. “IBEX is the place to see and be seen!”
"We love IBEX,” said Dan Linder, Value Engineer/Engineering Buyer, Regal Boats. "We look forward to coming every year to see what is new and connect with the industry. This show is where we make buying decisions and find new products. We bring our whole team and stay all three days – it takes us that long to see everything. This show is a must for us."
“I’ve talked with many of our exhibitors and they are all saying the same thing, the quality of buyers this year at IBEX was the best it's ever been,” said Anne Dunbar, IBEX Show Director. “The amount of business that took place in the exhibit halls this year was significant, more than in previous years. The positive energy throughout all three days was obvious, and if IBEX is the pulse of the marine industry, we are looking at a strong 2020, and beyond.”
IBEX is scheduled to return to the Tampa Convention Center for the next two years, with IBEX 2020 show dates set for September 29 – October 1, 2020 and IBEX 2021 dates set for September 28-30, 2021. For more information, visit www.ibexshow.com.