The 2019 International Fly Tackle Dealer trade show shattered attendance records in Denver. Image TSNN

COVID-19 Crisis Shutters 2020 IFTD Show in Denver.

By Lynn Burkhead / The Fly Fisherman / April 08, 2020

While the news wasn’t entirely unexpected, this week’s early cancellation of the 2020 International Fly Tackle Dealer show in Denver later this year still sent shock waves through an industry struggling to deal with the unprecedented shutdown and economic woes being caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Previously scheduled to take place in Denver this fall from Oct. 7-9, the American Fly Fishing Trade Association announced the official postponement of the 2020 show on Wednesday, April 7, 2020 in the form of a letter sent to industry members by AFFTA president and CEO Ben Bulis.

After a record setting run in 2019 that saw more than 2,000+ industry professionals gather in Denver for the largest IFTD show in history, Bulis’ letter on Wednesday struck a somber note.”

The Fly Fisherman

Yesterday, April 7th, the AFFTA Board of Directors voted unanimously to postpone this year’s IFTD show. Comprised of guides, outfitters, manufacturers and retailers, the Board reflects a cross-section of the industry and are all experiencing a tremendous financial loss, just like all of you. In light of the completely unpredictable path of the COVID-19 virus and length of our industry’s—and nation’s—social and economic recovery, we have elected to take decisive action, protect our people and their businesses and continue to find ways to weather these times together.

Make no mistake, this was an exceedingly difficult decision for the AFFTA Board. We are in completely uncharted waters, but we promise to be as diligent and responsive as possible in leading our industry through these tough times.

The factors we considered to arrive at this decision include:

• The safety and health of every last member of our industry

• The length of time that preventative measures will be in place is unknown

• The industry’s uncertain financial picture today and in the future.

• With the economic loss you’re facing, we don’t want members to incur the cost of travel and lodging and time away from businesses to attend IFTD

The solutions we are currently working on:

• Logistics for how exhibitor deposits are handled

• Working with our show vendors, hotels, registration and the convention center to postpone IFTD to 2021

• Developing useful category-specific business resources

• Opening “live” lines of communication

• Bringing our community together via alternative channels

You will hear from us directly, in the coming days, weeks and months as we navigate Covid-19 together. In the meantime, we have created a resource page with up-to-date information on Federal, State and local relief efforts . . .

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