ICAST set to make trade show history
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This year’s ICAST looks certain to become the biggest trade show in the history of the recreational fishing industry.
The Orlando event broke all records for exhibitor and visitor numbers last year when an unprecedented number of booths packed the show floor of the Orange County Convention Center.
The number of dealers and media thronging the aisles also reached an all-time high. But just 12 months later, those numbers will be surpassed.
Based on information received by Angling International yesterday, ICAST booth bookings have already reached 1,725, rising to just under 2,000 if IFTD figures are included, as the fishing-mad state of Florida responds to a trade event recently named among the 25 fastest growing shows [by attendance] in the US.
And with the same location confirmed until at least 2016, further growth seems certain in the future.
“We know that show will be in Orlando for the third consecutive year in 2016 and the momentum is gathering,” said ICAST veteran and ASA official Peter Foley, President of Boone Bait.
“We already know that records will be broken again this year. We are going to see a great show. Next year there could well be 1,800 booths.”
There are clearly a lot of factors in Orlando’s favour. The concentration of dealers and anglers in Florida is greater than anywhere else in the US; Orlando is not an expensive location and the mayor of the city is known to be a big supporter of a show that brings considerable business to the city.
The popularity of Orlando as a venue among the US trade has been proven by past shows held there. In addition, the East Coast location and flight routes have encouraged attendees from Europe and elsewhere.
When ICAST returned to Orlando from Las Vegas in 2014, Show Director Ken Andres said that the results from the show would help determine its future location.
It appears that the decision by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) to give its show an extended run in Orlando has been more than justified from both an industry and financial perspective.
Any argument to move to an alternative venue in the future would have to make a very strong case.