One of the most prestigious gem and jewellery fairs in the world opens in Bangkok this month.
February will see Bangkok sparkle into life as the biannual Bangkok Gems and Jewelry Fair (BGJF) returns to the Thai capital. The second largest jewellery fair in Asia – and the fourth in the world – organisers are confident the event will help propel the country into becoming the golden gateway to the Association of South East Asian (ASEAN) nations.
Held at Bangkok’s IMPACT Exhibition and Convention Center – the largest column-free, ground-level exhibition facility in Asia – from February 24 to 28, BGJF57 is expected to attract tens of thousands of buyers from over 130 countries, from the US to the EU and from Russia to the Middle East, as well as 30,000 local visitors. Last September, over 1,500 sellers attended BGJF56, generating gross export revenue in excess of US$12.8 billion.
Somchai Phornchindarak has no doubt as to what makes BGJF stand out from the crowd.
“We are different from other fairs because our products are really varied, our designs are excellent and we are number one in the world, even better than Italian designs,” says the President of the Thai Gem and Jewelry Traders Association (TGJTA) and Chairman of the Gems, Jewelry and Precious Metal Confederation of Thailand.
Suttipong Damrongsakul, Chief Executive Officer of the BGJF Organising Committee, believes that BGJF57 will showcase Thailand’s expertise and talent.
“We would like to encourage new innovation from exhibitors, as we want to present to foreign buyers the potential of Thai gems and jewellery companies,” he says.
Phornchindarak believes the strength of the industry is built on solid foundations, such as excellent designs, reputed quality, premier craftsmanship and state-of-the-art technology.
“These qualities, along with best possible support services, have seamlessly propelled our industry, all despite the rocky economic conditions worldwide since 2007,” he says.
But BGJF57 will be much more than a glittering showcase of some of the world’s finest diamonds and coloured stones, it is very much a place of work.
“The objective of the fair is for foreign buyers to come and place orders, which is why the fair is held twice a year,” says Phornchindarak.
Despite providing an additional 3,500 booths this year, Phornchindarak says that commercial space for BGJF57 is running out fast, so exhibitors are urged to register right away.
To encourage further trade, the government has lifted the 20% tax on imported gems and jewellery sold at BGJF57. Foreign exhibitors can import and sell gems and jewelry from other countries duty-free, and local exhibitors can make their prices more competitive. Ultimately it will be the buyer who wins out the most.
The move is part of the Thai government’s ongoing support of the industry, according to Phornchindarak. “The government has been with us every step of the way, helping to promote exports as well as developing overseas markets via trade fairs, road shows and exceptional exhibitions,” he says. “All these changes predict a gleaming future for all.”
Another government concession specifically for BGJF57 is the Zero VAT Pavilion, where buyers are exempted from paying 7% VAT on rough gems and raw materials imported into Thailand for manufacturing.
Aside from the tax cuts, the main feature of BGJF57 will be a series of design pavilions including the Department of International Trade Promotion’s Thai Design Pavilion and one organised by Gemsfield UK to showcase some of the finest jewellery from around the world.
To make doing business even easier, this year BGJF will also have its own mobile application, which will enable buyers to connect with sellers, as well as providing a floor plan of all exhibitions. There will also be various seminars, contests, trend updates and special offers.
Tight security measures have been put in place to ensure the safety of exhibitors.
“We have tourist police, soldiers and security personnel totalling over 500 people at the fair. There will be over 560 CCTV cameras,” says Phornchindarak.
However, Lieutenant Colonel Sataporn Sanguansuk of the Tourist Police assures that such measures will not “affect the trading atmosphere and make exhibitors and buyers feel uncomfortable.”
Another recent addition to BGJF is the Virtual Jewellery Fair launched on January 24 in Vicenza, Italy.
“For the first phase there will not be any payment transaction yet, as it is a cyber-exhibition for Thai operators to showcase their products. It’s aimed to be a B2B channel to show the world our products,” says Phornchindarak.
A shuttle service will be available to and from Bangkok’s five-star hotels to give added convenience to buyers and sellers alike.
Phornchindarak believes that BGJF57 will confirm that the industry has a bright future, not that he is one to rest on his laurels. “We need to push Thailand to become the gem and jewellery hub in ASEAN,” he says.
For more information, visit: www.bangkokgemsfair.com