IFTD attendee numbers up 137% on Denver return
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Last week’s IFTD delivered a 137% increase in attendees compared to the 2018 ICAST-shared event, attracting a history-making record of 2,251 visitors.
“The fly fishing industry showed up and made a statement this year,” said Ben Bulis, President of the American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFFTA), which owns and operates the trade show. “The decision to once again make the show a stand-alone fly fishing event, schedule it in October and return to our roots in Denver, was the result of direct conversations with our membership. We know that there’s no way to please everyone, but the results are loud and clear – IFTD is home.”
AFFTA added that the show’s total attendance only tells part of the story.
• Booth space sold out ten months before the event, with 156 exhibitors staking their claim on the show floor – both records;
• Just shy of 300 individual retailers representing 41 different countries descended on C Hall of the Colorado Convention Center – both records;
• Fifteen educational seminars attracted a total of 491 attendees with an average of 32.7 per seminar – all three records;
• The Wednesday morning Industry Breakfast sold out at 290 attendees – a record;
• The New Product Showcase featured 267 entries – a record.
The event also featured two themes that the fly fishing industry has been rallying behind: the #kickplastic initiative and promoting diversity on the water.
In a display of industry solidarity and leadership and thanks to some strategic partnerships, IFTD was entirely single-use plastic-free – from eco-board signage and compostable plates, cups and eating utensils to reusable water bottles and filling stations, evergreen badge lanyards and much more.
Addressing an important movement in fly fishing, Joel Johnson, CEO of Admirable Devil and former CMO of Trout Unlimited, hosted a strong panel discussion about the challenges, opportunities and positive impact of promoting and improving diversity on the water.
“This year, our move back to Denver to stand on our own is the culmination of three years of tireless work by our staff and Board, but especially by our Show Committee, led by Steve Bendzak,” said Bulis. “I couldn’t be more proud of the programming we had for our attendees. We are a lean, dedicated team, but we punch above our weight. This show is such a vital part of our industry’s success. We’re already digging into next year and can’t wait to deliver an even bigger and more valuable event.”
IFTD will return to Denver in 2020, from October 7th to 9th.