BANGKOK — Thailand’s top trade and government officials expressed pride and optimism with its newly expanded exhibition space and its increased presence among international exhibitors and buyers during first day of the Bangkok Gems and Jewelry Fair.
The 34th installment of the semi-annual fair opened on Sunday with a ceremony that included several speeches, a fashion show, and ribbon cutting ceremony, prior to the opening of the five-day fair. Sponsored by the Thai Gems and Jewelry Traders Association and the Department of Export Promotion, the fair is being held at the newly expanded and upgraded exhibition space at the sprawling Impact Center on the outskirts of the city. The exhibition space totals 645,800 square feet is now being held on a single floor of eight adjacent halls, which Narong Thamavaranukop, president of the TGJTA, says is very important to exhibitors.
“It was something that was requested by the exhibitors,” he said. “They did not want to be on the second floor.”
Thamavaranukop also said that the expansion and upgrading of the exhibition space (which includes two new two halls bringing the total to eight halls as well as the addition of restaurants, cyber cafes, and other amenities) coincides with efforts to increase the international presence. Participation from international exhibitors has increased by approximately 20% from nearly every part of the world, he said.
“The decoration of the venue, exhibition and areas for various have also been approved and we are confident that by being modern and integrated, the venue will allow operators and buyers to meet, and through this, expand the market for Thai gems and jewelry, bringing the local brands into the world arena,” he said.
And apparently international exhibitors responded as participation for the show has increased by approximately 20%, he said. Overall, the show now exceeds 1,000 exhibitors using 2,800 booths, an increase of more than 200 booths from the previous year. Approximately 30,000 buyers of gems and jewelry are expected to attend the fair.
Pimpapaan Chansilpa, deputy director-general of the DEP, focused his opening remarks on the importance of the Thai gem and jewelry industry to the country.
“During the first half of the year, exports of gems and jewelry were valued at $1.2 billion,” he said. “Orders in terms of samples, on-site orders, and immediate purchases at the fair have accounted for 30% of the country’s total gems and jewelry exports.”
Officials said its goal is to increase its exports of gems and jewelry to $5 billion in four years.
The importance of the fair to the country’s economy was underscored by the opening remarks of Prime Minister of Thailand Thaksin Shinawatra.
“The Thai gem and jewelry industry continues to be a priority of the government as it plays an important role in our economy; not just boosting sales figures, but also in providing employment for over one million people,” he said. “Thailand’s image around the world continues to grow and we are well positioned to continue this growth with a gems and jewelry fair of this caliber.”
“Blossoming Brilliance” is the theme of this year’s fair, and that theme was highlighted by an opening day fashion show with models adorned with several one-of-a-kind designs.