By Craig Ritchie
Delegates attending the International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition and Conference (IBEX) in Tampa learned this morning that RAI Amsterdam, producer of the Marine Equipment Trade Show (METS), has purchased a 50 percent stake in IBEX from show founder Professional Boatbuilder magazine.
The announcement – made during the annual Industry Breakfast to kick off the 2016 IBEX being held this week in Tampa, Florida – was made jointly by Ids Boersma, executive vice president of RAI Exhibitions, and Thom Dammrich, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA).
Effective October 7, 2016, RAI Amsterdam will join NMMA as co-owners and operators of IBEX. “We at Professional BoatBuilder magazine, the company that founded IBEX, have sold our ownership in IBEX to the RAI,” confirmed Jim Miller, Professional Boatbuilder’s publisher and general manager. “We’ve had a longstanding respect for the RAI, and we’re confident they’ll sustain the level of excellence we’ve achieved for the show since 1991.”
Moving forward, news of the RAI / NMMA partnership was well received by IBEX exhibitors and visitors. While the IBEX and METS shows will continue to operate independently, having RAI Amsterdam as an ownership partner will allow IBEX to foster greater international profile and growth. “The entire world is becoming increasingly globalized,” Irene Dros, METS show manager for RAI Amsterdam told Boating Business. “And nowhere is that more apparent than in the recreational boating industry.”
The announcement was followed by an industry state-of-the-union presentation by Dammrich, in which he predicted that sales of new boats in the US could reach 10 percent growth this year. Current economic point to that level of growth persisting for another two to three years. “These are good times,” he said. “This year marks six straight years of growth, and when we look back on this period many years from now, we will think of these years as good ones so I encourage everyone to make the most of them.
The 2016 IBEX show runs through October 6, 2016 at the Tampa Convention Center.