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Why former ICAST director believes fishing tackle shows are here to stay


Fishing tackle shows are here to stay – that’s the view of a former Show Director of ICAST amid fears that COVID-related cancellations and the improbable boom in tackle sales could threaten the future of traditional in-person exhibitions.

Ken Andres worked with the huge US event between 2007 and 2016, during which time he helped grow the attendance from 6,000 to 15,000.

Earlier this year he became an ex-officio Board member at the American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFFTA), which runs the IFTD show (main picture). This year’s  IFTD was subsequently called off, joining numerous other shows including ICAST, China Fish and EFTTEX on the cancelled list.

And after a year when manufacturers and retailers have not spent on attending shows and then seen sales rocket, event organisers are deeply concerned for 2021 and beyond.

But Andres (left) is convinced that trade and consumers alike will flock back when the pandemic allows. “Trade shows are certainly not in jeopardy yet,” he told Angling International in an exclusive interview. “People still want to get together to talk business and celebrate. You cannot replicate the face-to-face interaction and camaraderie you get at a show. The environment is unique.

“The absence of shows this year has made people recognise the value of human connectivity. At the same time, shows have to make sure they stay relevant and provide that vital connection between manufacturers retailers and consumers,”

Andres left ICAST to join Emerald Expositions, where he was Sales Director for Surf Expo before taking a similar role at RetailX, the show for online and offline retailers. He has more than 20 years’ experience in international trade show management.

Now he is optimistic about the future of IFTD, believing his more recent experience in the direct-to-consumer space occupied by e-commerce, social media and omni-channel strategies will be of benefit.

“The excitement around IFTD’s return to Denver in 2019 was interrupted by cancellation this year, but I believe AFFTA will regain that in 2021,” he added.

Ÿ Read the full interview with Ken Andres by clicking here .

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