For the first time in more than 10 years, the world's largest sportfishing trade show will head to Orlando, Fla., located in the heart of the powerful Southeastern sportfishing market.
From July 15-17, the global sportfishing industry will converge on the Orange County Convention Center for the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades, better known as ICAST. Produced by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), the sportfishing industry's trade association, ICAST represents the cornerstone of the sportfishing industry, helping to drive sportfishing companies' product sales year round.
"Where sportfishing means business" isn't just the theme for ICAST 2009. It's also the overarching mantra of recreational fishing east of the Mississippi River and along the Gulf of Mexico. One in every 10 dollars spent in the United States on fishing is spent in Florida. Even more impressive is the fact that 43 percent of anglers in the United States call the Southeastern region home. Overall, nearly $20 billion in fishing retail sales are realized annually in the Southeastern market. In fact, more than half of the United States sportfishing dollars are spent east of the Mississippi River.
"Given the current business climate, people have to be smart about where and how they do business; and our exhibitors and attendees are telling us that ICAST is the right place to be," said ASA President and CEO Mike Nussman. "Orlando is a terrific location for the industry's trade show. ICAST is the only place in the world that offers attendees and exhibitors alike the opportunity to conduct business and network with industry leaders."
The ICAST show floor is sold out for the eighth consecutive year with close to 400 exhibitors occupying 400,000 square feet of the Orange County Convention Center. From buyers to media to exhibitors, ICAST annually attracts approximately 7,000 representatives from the global sportfishing community. The Orlando location will introduce many new buyers and outdoor media representatives to ICAST and to the latest innovations in gear and accessories.
"Of our exhibiting companies, 80 are from Florida, a nearly 70 percent increase compared to 2008," said ICAST Director Maria del Valle. "In addition, 35 percent of all registered buyers are from Florida. International attendance at ICAST has also more than doubled since 2001 with more than 800 attendees from 55 countries attending ICAST 2008."
The New Product Showcase offers exhibitors, buyers and media representatives a special opportunity to debut and preview hundreds of the next season's innovations in fishing gear and accessories. During the annual Industry Breakfast, which kicks off the show's opening on Wednesday morning, July 15, Nussman, Jeff Pontius, president, ZEBCO Brands and ASA's Board of Directors chairman, and Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation President and CEO Frank Peterson will outline the state of the industry. This year's keynote speaker is John Engler, former three-term Governor of Michigan, and president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM).