IBEX expects big growth in 2007

MIAMI – Responding to exhibitor demands, organizers of the International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition & Conference said they expect to take all available space in the Miami Beach Convention Center next year. This will likely include all four halls of the Center (A, B, C and D) which organizers say will provide a 33 percent increase in floor space for the show.

As for this year’s IBEX, which ends this afternoon in Miami, organizers report that the cloudy weather and intermittent rain showers seen over the last few days here have done nothing to dampen enthusiasm or attendance at the three-day show, which is owned and produced by Professional BoatBuilder magazine and the National Marine Manufacturers Association.

“I think everything’s been great,” IBEX co-director and Professional BoatBuilder publisher Carl Cramer said. “The attitude on the floor is wonderful.”

While some businesses in the industry have reported slower sales this year and may be looking for ways to trim costs, Cramer says most companies are still sending their employees to IBEX in the same numbers they have in the past and that the people who need to be at the show are finding ways to attend.

“There’s one instance I know of where a company temporarily banned travel and yet there are still a lot of their people here,” he said. “But they’ve had to take vacation time and pay their own way. But I don’t think [the economy has] been a problem in terms of the industry gathering. The vibe around the exhibit hall has been great.”

In addition to the many exhibits – which this year fill three of the four halls – and all of the business that gets done, many educational opportunities are also available to those at the show, and intensive daylong “Super Sessions” covering three different topics are being offered this year for the first time.

The sessions include: Closed-Molding Basics, The Powerboat Project and Networking Marine Systems.

Cramer says the Super Sessions have been very well received, both by the presenters and the attendees, and they will likely become a regular feature in the future.

The timing of this year’s show is also different than in years past, coming, as it does, after the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, rather than preceding it. But neither Cramer, nor IBEX co-director and NMMA trade-events manager Kathleen Clickett, say they have noticed too much difference or heard much comment about the change. But Cramer said it is possible there may be more international attendees at this year’s IBEX, who came for FLIBS and then made the trip to Miami.

Dates for IBEX 2007 have already been set – Oct. 10-12 – but organizers will wait to turn their full attention to that show for at least another 24 hours as this morning’s Industry Breakfast and final Super Session class highlight a busy final day.

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