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‘Unchartered territory’ attracting AFFTA members

The American Fly Fishing Trade Association’s (AFFTA) journey into ‘unchartered’ territory is capturing the imagination of its members, says President Ben Bulis.

He has reported exhibitor numbers for its IFTD Show in Orlando, Florida, as tracking higher than 2013. Many companies are also booking larger stand space.

Bulis admitted: “When we announced the next location for IFTD there was a bit of grumbling from the industry. However, the naysayers have quietened down and there has been no negative feedback in recent months.

“Any hesitation regarding Orlando is driven by pure speculation and is unfounded because the fly industry has never produced a trade show there. We are in unchartered territory and excited about changing our geography. Florida represents the largest sport fishing market in the United States. That’s a huge advantage from the start. Orlando is also an extremely easy city to access – and the fishing opportunities are exceptional.”

Bulis also revealed that IFTD has no plans to go it alone and will continue to co-locate with ICAST in the foreseeable future. He said: “How could anyone in the industry argue against the benefits of our involvement with ICAST? Only those who haven’t experienced it, I suppose.

“Those who don’t see a benefit are missing out on a tremendous opportunity. This holds true for anyone who attends IFTD. ICAST attracts and exposes our exhibitors to retailers and media that a stand-alone IFTD has never been able to accomplish. I have spoken to many exhibitors who told me that Las Vegas was the best show in over a decade for them – that’s telling.”

• AFFTA has announced the appointment of Becky Edwards to the newly created position of Communications Director.

For the last four years Edwards has owned her own communications and marketing consultants based in Bozeman, Montana. Veterans of the fly fishing industry may remember Edwards as a former Dealer Services Rep at Simms Fishing Products in the early to mid-2000s. “I am delighted to have the opportunity to work among all of the passionate members of the trade again at this point in my career,” she said.

“Working with AFFTA to develop and execute a strategic communications plan from the ground up is incredibly exciting.”

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