As many of you have heard by now, the International Fly Tackle Dealer show has been called off for 2021.
It’s sad news, but it was a responsible call by AFFTA. Too many questions about travel in this Delta variant COVID era still loom, with a number of major players asking their employees not to travel at all. It was a game effort with good intentions, but it wasn’t going to be an “all-in” show.
COVID has changed a lot of how we work and operate now.
We need to take this latest development as a reason (and opportunity) to rethink the entire IFTD trade show approach.
Let’s start by being honest about a few things.
First, what was the number-one motivation for many of you who were planning to attend, or attended regularly in years past? For us, it was seeing people. A family reunion for the fly-fishing business community.
New products? C’mon… we all know what the products are before we get to the show. Almost nobody is actually writing orders still in late October. And if you want to get people to learn about new products—talk to us at Angling Trade and we’ll get the word out to everyone who makes, buys or sells fly-fishing product in the country.
When the show get’s re-imaged, we need to think about timing. Again. Probably July or earlier.
We need to think about consumer-facing aspects as opportunities.
We need to let cities fight over the right to be the “Fly Fishing Capital of America,” which is where we hold the family reunion, rendezvous, or whatever you want to call it.
We need the business improvement seminars and all that (which is what will really be missed this time), but we also need to open dialogues about conservation, and how we work together to make fisheries more sustainable, and avoid some of the shit shows that are happening in certain places now.
We support AFFTA, because we think AFFTA is needed more than ever to promote the sport and ensure its future. But we think it’s time to rethink IFTD entirely. And we stand ready to help.
AFFTA Announces IFTD 21 Postponed
August 31st, 2021- The American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFFTA) Board of Directors announces today that the 2021 International Fly Tackle Dealer (IFTD) show, scheduled for October 20th-22nd in Salt Lake City, Utah, has been postponed until 2022.
“I am beyond excited by the show AFFTA, and our Show Director Kenneth Andres, put together. There is a real buzz around the show, and we are proud of the almost 100 exhibitors we partnered with to join us in Salt Lake City this year. We were looking to strike a balance between safely gathering and providing an exciting, educational, and productive show. We had the latter, but safely gathering was getting harder and harder due to the spread of the unpredictable Delta variant,” said Lucas Bissett, Executive Director of AFFTA.
A follow up email will be going out within the week to exhibitors. Answers to questions regarding the logistics of this postponement will be included in that email along with the opening of a dialogue around next year’s gathering.
“While I am disappointed we are not getting together as an industry this year, I am confident we are going to bring our membership together with an even better industry gathering in 2022. The Board unanimously made the difficult but correct decision to postpone IFTD 2021, as the safety of our members is paramount. Under our new Executive Director’s leadership and vision, the future looks bright, and we are excited to get everyone’s input on what gatherings look like moving forward”, said Jim Bartschi, Chair of the AFFTA Board.
A robust communication plan will be implemented over the next couple of m