IBEX attendance up – probably

MIAMI -– Attendance was up during the first day of the International Boatbuilders’ Exhibition & Conference in Miami according to the show’s producers, although IBEX officials declined to release their first day’s numbers – preferring instead to wait until the show concludes Wednesday, and they’ve had time to go through their reports and can tabulate the figures correctly.

“[Attendance] is pretty strong but we decided we would just verify the daily numbers at the end and then give them out,” said IBEX co-director Jennifer Thompson in an interview with Boating Industry this morning. “Carl [Cramer, the show’s other director] and I end up talking to different people and giving out different numbers, so we decided to wait until the end and give the numbers then. Thursday we’ll have the preliminary numbers, – at least to say OK, it was about this – then we’ll verify it all.

“My impressions, I thought yesterday was a pretty strong day. From talking to people on the floor, it sounded like everyone had a good day. I know the conference sessions are pretty busy, so we are up there from last year, and our pre-registration indicated that we are going to be up by 27 percent from last year. So I think we will come up from last year, I just don’t know, at this point, how much.”

According to comments from several IBEX exhibitors, traffic on the show floor seemed light Monday, but that may have been due to the fact that another exhibit hall was added this year – increasing floor space by almost 50 percent. Most of that space was sold, and with the exhibitors more spread out, the attendees may have been more spread out as well.

“With the increased exhibit space, if the attendance turns out to be about the same, it’s spreading that bunch of people over a larger area,” Thompson said. “We grew by more than 40 percent, so the aisles may tend to not be as busy.

“But still, all the right people are here. All the boat builders that we wanted are here. And a lot of the builders indicated they were bringing more people here than they did last year -– their entire team: engineers, designers, production people and management. There’s something for everyone here.”

Thompson said that during last year’s IBEX, attendance picked up as the show progressed, and she expects the pattern may repeat itself this year also.

“Due to the proximity with [the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show later this week], I think that is what we would imagine would happen again,” Thompson said. “My experience from last year was that Tuesday was the stronger day of the show, and I would expect this year would be the same, although it’s hard to tell right now.”

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