The 28th International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition and Conference (IBEX), held October 2-4 at the Tampa Convention Center will include expanded programs for international visitors.

Scheduled programs will include networking and educational opportunities developed to attract attendees and exhibitors from countries other than the United States. The show will continue the International B2B VIP Program launched last year, host the Export Excellence Award, include Country Pavilions, and have expanded exhibits from global vendors throughout the show floor.

For foreign attendees, IBEX introduced its International B2B VIP Program in 2017, which offers qualified first-time business-to-business overseas buyers a VIP invitation to the show. The program includes a VIP Buyer’s Badge, which gives international attendees free sponsored WIFI, unlimited access to the exclusive IBEX VIP lounge with daily complimentary lunch and refreshments served, access to evening networking events, free access to the Pitch the Press event, and one conference pass to an IBEX seminar of the attendees’ choosing. No advance booking required. To qualify for an IBEX B2B VIP Program registration, participants must be first-time visitors to IBEX from countries other than the United States; must be established manufacturers, boatbuilders, distributors, marine retailers/dealers, marinas/boatyards, or other B2B entities; and must have clear specifications on products they are seeking.

This year’s IBEX will also host the launch of a new export award for US companies. Conceived and sponsored by International Boat Industry (IBI) magazine, the Export Excellence Award recognizes excellence in export sales by US boatbuilders or marine equipment manufacturers, or distributors and manufacturers’ representatives of U.S. products. The award will be presented in front of a large audience by IBI at the opening day IBEX Industry Breakfast to be held at the Tampa Marriott Waterside hotel on Tuesday, October 2.

As of press time, 70 international companies from 57 different countries including the United Kingdom, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Slovenia, Belgium, China, Taiwan, and the Netherlands will exhibit products and services throughout the show. In addition, IBEX will have Country Pavilions from South Korea, Australia, France, and Italy.

To strengthen IBEX’s global presence, the show recently partnered with the International Council of Marine Industry Associations (ICOMIA). The organisation includes member marine industry associations from all over the world. This partnership gives the show and its visitors direct access to these associations and its members, with the aim of bringing the rest of the world closer to the North American boating industry. The agreement will encourage a more international audience and range of speakers and exhibitors.

“IBEX continues to attract new exhibitors and attendees from all over the world and we are always developing new programs that make our show attractive for international members of the boatbuilding community to attend,” said Anne Dunbar, IBEX show director. "Our global visibility and reach has been heightened by key partnerships with METSTRADE and ICOMIA and, because of that, IBEX affords an excellent opportunity for visitors and exhibitors to interact with boatbuilding professionals from across the globe.”