NMMA, ICAST collaboration lauded as win-win

New Marine Accessories Pavilion at world’s largest fishing show lauded by aftermarket accessory manufacturers

A new collaboration between the National Marine Manufacturers Association and the American Sportfishing Association to host the first-ever Marine Accessories Pavilion at the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades trade show had met with overwhelming support from exhibitors.

The new-for-2016 Marine Accessories Pavilion presented a wide range of boating aftermarket accessories to fishing tackle retailers and sporting goods buyers visiting the world’s largest recreational fishing trade show. Held from July 12 to 15 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, ICAST boasted nearly 600 exhibitors and attracted approximately 13,000 visitors from around the world.

A number of marine equipment exhibitors said the show’s mid-July timing was a deciding factor in their decision to attend ICAST and participate as part of the Marine Accessories Pavilion.

“This show represents the best opportunity for us to talk to customers that we wont see at any other trade event through the year,” said Kit Rehm, U.S. sales rep with fuel tank and fittings manufacturer Scepter Corporation. “We never see the sporting goods or outdoor retailers at any of the marine trade events, but we see them here all day long, and for three straight days. This show gives a July trade environment which we desperately need in the accessory and aftermarket side of the business, it’s almost a replacement for the old MAATS. And, it provides an opportunity to cross-market to other customers who just don’t traffic well very often. It’s the perfect place to be, and the perfect time of year to be here.”

Of 67 NMMA member companies exhibiting at ICAST, nearly two-thirds of them were located within the Marine Accessories Pavilion.

“It’s a big show, and we felt that having a marine-dedicated pavilion would make it easier for buyers and exhibitors to connect,” said Jennifer Thompson, NMMA vice president of consumer and trade events. “Some of our accessory manufacturer members expressed an interest in opportunities to reach new buyers at this time of the year, so it made sense to organize a marine pavilion at ICAST. NMMA and the American Sportfishing Association have a long history of working cooperatively on common issues so there’s a lot of positive history between our organizations. It’s a natural fit, and feedback from our exhibiting members so far has been unanimously positive.”

Thompson added that representatives from an additional 30 to 50 NMMA member companies visited the show this year, with an eye on potentially exhibiting in 2017.

“We’ve been here and walked the aisles before, but this is our first time exhibiting at ICAST,” said SeaDek co-owner and vice president of marketing Jason Gardner. “Now that we have established certified installers and fabricators all over the country to meet demand, it makes sense for us to be here. We got our start in the fishing segment, doing inshore flats boats from the very beginning, along with center consoles and kayaks, so we really need to be here.”

In order to help drive traffic to the new Pavilion, NMMA heavily promoted its inaugural Anchors & Ales networking event, held there from 4:30 to 6 p.m. on the Thursday afternoon. A number of show visitors enjoyed the opportunity to sample four different craft beers from Orlando Brewing Co. while meeting with exhibitors and learning about their products. Visitors even received a souvenir tasting glass as a memento of their visit.

“Networking is the key to a successful show experience and this is particularly critical at ICAST,” said Thompson. “We’re excited to provide this valuable opportunity to our members and their customers which will further highlight the importance of boating accessories to the world’s largest recreational fishing trade show.”

For its part, show organizer ASA couldn’t be more thrilled with the new collaboration.

“We’ve been hearing nothing but positive feedback about adding the marine accessories pavilion,” said Ken Andres, American Sportfishing Association trade show director. “This is a win-win for ASA, and NMMA.”

The 2017 edition of ICAST – marking the show’s 60th anniversary – will take place from July 11 to 14 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.

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