BROOKLIN, Maine — Attendance at the 2005 International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition & Conference (IBEX) may not have broken any records, but it was impressive, given industry concern over Hurricane Wilma.
The hurricane hit South Florida on Monday, Oct. 24, after slowing significantly. It therefore didn’t have a physical impact on the conference center. However, concern over the hurricane grew during the three-day show, prompting some people to leave as early as the second morning and others to not come at all.
The show, held October 19–21 at the Miami Beach Convention Center in Florida, attracted 4,089 international boatbuilding professionals, which IBEX co-director Carl Cramer said assured organizers of “the event’s importance to the marine industry.”
IBEX show management expected more than 6,000 attendees this year based on pre-registration numbers, which would have made it the largest event in the show’s 15-year history.
“We received many emails and calls from disappointed boatbuilding professionals worldwide whose IBEX travel plans were affected by the hurricane,” said IBEX show co-director Kathleen Clickett.
In an effort to encourage exhibitors and attendees to leave the Miami area with sufficient time to avoid the hurricane, IBEX closed down two hours early on Friday, the show’s final day.
While a few exhibitors told Boating Industry magazine that some of their key appointments were canceled, the shortened exhibit hours and lighter-than-expected traffic on the show floor didn’t affect most exhibitors’ experiences, according to organizers.
IBEX 2006 will be held November 1–3, 2006, with Pre-Conference October 31, at the Miami Beach Convention Center. IBEX is owned and produced by Professional BoatBuilder magazine and National Marine Manufacturers Association.
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