New IBEX gets underway

MIAMI, Fla. – The first International Boatbuilders’ Exhibition & Conference (IBEX) co-produced by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and Professional Boatbuilder magazine was kicked off today at the Miami Beach Convention Center with organizers pleased with what they’ve accomplished in their joint effort.

“[The show] is phenomenally better than any of us expected,” said Carl Cramer, show co-producer, in an interview today. “We accomplished so much in five short months, and the industry support has been better than expected.”

Cramer explained that IBEX is now benefiting from “the strengths of both organizations,” with 63 seminar sessions in addition to the exhibit floor.

The show features approximately 700 exhibitors, about the same number IBEX attracted in February. With 50 percent more exhibit space being added to the show next year, organizers expect growth in 2004.

Roughly 4,200 attendees pre-registered for the show, according to Cramer. The February IBEX event attracted a total of about 4,800 attendees, and Cramer said he would “be pleased” if this event’s attendance surpasses that number.

The one question that remains for organizers is “what we can do to serve our customers better,” Cramer added.

This year’s event was organized by NMMA and Professional Boatbuilder in “five short months,” and Cramer said having the full year to organize the 2004 event will give organizers the opportunity to incorporate more industry feedback into their planning.

Meanwhile, Cramer said, “The mood is fabulous.”

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— Liz Walz

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