Double-digit decline in IBEX attendance expected

MIAMI, Fla. – After two years in a row of double-digit declines in attendance, organizers of the International Boatbuilder Exhibition & Conference (IBEX) have high hopes for its new location in Louisville, Ky., the Miami Herald suggested in an article on its Web site.

Many attendees were “turned off” by the Miami Beach location’s expensive hotel rooms, lack of parking and “overall sense of lavishness,” organizers told the newspaper.

“They’d say they’d go out for a drink, and the martini was $12 or $14,” said Stephen Evans, operations director for the show, for the newspaper article.

Last year’s IBEX attendance was down 18 percent, and organizers told the newspaper that once the numbers are finalized, they expect this year’s decline to be in the same ballpark. The 2009 IBEX took place this past Monday through Wednesday at the Miami Beach Convention Center. This was its seventh year at this location.

Room rates for the Louisville show will be about 30 percent lower than attendees experienced in Miami Beach, according to organizers. Whether that will help boost show attendance in the future has been heavily debated.

“A lot of people, I think, come here and bring their spouses, and it becomes a semi-vacation,” IBEX exhibitor Doyle Bridges of Springfield Group told the newspaper during the show.

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