IBEX to remain in Louisville for foreseeable future

CHICAGO — Thom Dammrich, president of the National Marine Manufacturer's Association, says anyone who attended and experienced this year's IBEX in Louisville no longer has doubts about the new location.

The International Boatbuilders' Exhibition and Conference, which this year moved from Miami and added the Marine Aftermarket Accessories Trade Show (MAATS), saw attendance increase 13 percent. IBEX is produced by Professional BoatBuilder magazine & National Marine Manufacturers Association.

"We expected attendance to be up," Dammrich said. "We were tracking up 12 percent during pre-registration and had strong onsite registration. We are very pleased with this increase in attendance and so were the exhibitors."

Dammrich suggested part of the increase could be attributed to the addition of MAATS, but he said there is no way to know for sure, as NMMA is still analyzing traffic.

"We had almost exactly the total space we expected and more exhibitors as we saw the number of exhibiting companies increase from 480 to 540," Dammrich said. "I don’t think you can compare the two standalone events, as a number of companies who did both were represented at IBEX with a single booth. We did not expect 1 plus 1 to equal 2 in terms of total space. But, we did expect and got 1 plus 1 to equal 3 in terms of synergy for the attendees and exhibitors. Not to mention we had 70 new exhibitors that had never exhibited at IBEX before."

Dammrich said as the boating industry recovers, he expects to see attendance and exhibitor participation continue to grow.

"Our vision is to continue to grow IBEX as the place where the business of boating gets done," he said.

And for the moment, it looks like any growth will continue to occur in Louisville.

"We will be in Louisville for the next two years and potentially beyond," Dammrich said. "We will always listen to the attendees and exhibitors and work to meet their needs. No location is out of the question for the future, but the plan is to be in Louisville for the foreseeable future."

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