IBEX – and the boating industry – is open for business

By David Gee When the Boating Industry team all boarded airplanes from various parts of the country to converge and convene at IBEX in Tampa, we weren’t quite sure what to expect. Though the show is just getting started, the early signs are indeed promising. The industry breakfast featuring the innovation Awards presentations and a keynote by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis sold out, the exhibit floor seems fairly full as usual, and everyone I have spoken to so far seems super excited to be here.

In the days leading up to this show there were also some positives to look at. Attendance at the 2021 Newport International Boat Show was reportedly up by 10%, even with some ongoing travel restrictions and supply chain issues.

And the news was similarly good from the recent Progressive Insurance Norwalk Boat Show in Connecticut.

Informa says demand for both exhibit space and tickets is running strong for the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show next month.

And we are very pleased with the interest being generated so far by the agenda for our Boating Industry ELEVATE Summit conference in Atlanta in November. You can read more about that here.

Bill Yeargin, Brenna Preisser, Angela Pilkington, Ann Baldree, Keri Doscher and Helene Mellquest are just a few of the names on that agenda.

For sure these are challenging times, but they are also exciting and extraordinary times in every sense of the word. With continued high demand and low inventory it presents an interesting quandary for the recreational boating industry.

We can all help each other through it though, by sharing best practices and lessons learned, and by being in community with our industry colleagues at these shows.

There are plenty of reasons to stay home and “mind your business.” You’re plenty busy. Mask mandates are kind of confusing and confounding, wearing a mask on an airplane certainly isn’t anyone’s idea of fun, and on and on it goes.

But as I was walking around the exhibit floor at IBEX, and watching people unpack and put up their booths and displays, and seeing the excitement around the dock areas as boats were being put into position, it just reminded me of all the value of attending industry events such as this.

It’s just so fun to see old friends, as well as meet new people and see the latest products and just learn from one another. There’s nothing like it! And there’s nothing like this industry.

There aren’t too many people who get to sell fun for a living, and we do. Well, at least I get to write about those who sell fun, and that’s fun for me.

So if you’re reading this post at your desk, it’s probably too late to make your way to Tampa for IBEX. But it’s certainly not too late to make plans for FLIBS, and Miami and ELEVATE. It will be great to see you!

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