Since the door closed on the last co-location of ICAST and IFTD, the American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFFTA) is now firmly focused on reverting its show into an event in its own right.
It has been seven years since IFTD was a stand-alone show and AFFTA Communications Director Matt Smythe told Angling International that preparations for Denver, Colorado have already exceeded expectations with commitments to exhibit at next year’s event already eclipsing the 2018 show. “We are looking forward to getting back to our roots and taking the positive momentum that’s already building to an even greater level. So is our membership. We will have more control over how the show is run logistically and be able to generate even more awareness and visibility for our members. “We are still in the planning stages with regard to the exact content of the show for retailers next year, but it will be a combination of strong manufacturer numbers – alongside new product launches – and tangible business value that will relate to them. Their response to the move has been just as enthusiastic as the exhibitors’.
“One thing that has been successful in recent years is the growth of our business seminars, panel discussions and other relevant and worthwhile presentations. Retailers and others have been able to get unique insights and perspectives that they might not have thought about for their own operations. “This kind of information – and experience sharing – is worth its weight in gold from a retail and industry standpoint.”
Smythe added that the final IFTD in Orlando had a lot of ‘good energy’ and picked out as one of the highlights the new industry awards – the Jim Range Conservation Leadership Award and the Lefty Kreh Industry Leadership Award. “They are the start of a much-needed tradition of recognising folks in our industry for their tremendous passion and leadership,” he said. “It was also good to see first-time exhibitors and others who are more established but have never been selected win New Product Showcase awards. It is always great to see a diverse field take home accolades.”