Bahrain wins trust of global firms: PM
Manama, November 23, 2011
The exhibition industry is recovering, despite a critical global economic outlook, said His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa as he opened Jewellery Arabia 2011.
The dazzling event is being held at the Bahrain International Exhibition and Convention Centre.
'Bahrain's success in attracting major specialised shows reflects winning the trust of leading world companies - being a strategic gateway to the region,' the Premier said as he toured different pavilions representing jewellery powerhouses from 30 countries.
He stressed strong resolve to continue the march of progress and development, particularly in trade and economic sectors.
He stressed the government's keenness to enhance national economic performance and spur growth to optimise dividends for citizens and ensure their welfare.
He reaffirmed the drive to attract key regional and international shows, including Jewellery Arabia - an event acknowledged as a success story.
He also highlighted the importance of the exhibition industry, being an economic driving engine to boost tourism and diversify resources.
HRH the Premier was updated on precious gems, finished diamond jewellery and luxury watches on display.
'Bahrain has become a favoured destination to host such high-profile exhibitions,' he said.
He pointed out that the steadily-growing Jewellery Arabia, since its inception in 1992, reflected trust in Bahrain's favourable investment environment.
'Thanks to its business-friendly and competitive environment, Bahrain enables investors to showcase and set up their projects and profit from the government's incentive package,' he said.
Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Hassan Fakhro thanked the Premier for patronising the 20th edition of the glamorous event.
More than 50,000 people are expected to visit over the next four days with more than 550 companies from 27 countries taking part in the exhibition, which covers a floor area of 16,500 sq m.
It is organised by Arabian Exhibition Management and extra security measures have been implemented as a result of the unrest earlier this year, said the company's sales and marketing director Fawzi Al Shehabi.
Measures included fitting additional cameras, stringent security checks and special parking arrangements, he said.
'I want to assure people that things are normal and they shouldn't worry about what they hear, they just want to scare people, but probably the safest place in Bahrain is the exhibition centre,' he said. 'The area is secure and people are worried for nothing. We hope this event will tell everyone that Bahrain hosted an exhibition with more than 550 exhibitors from 27 countries. We want this to reflect to the world that Bahrain is safe and business-friendly.'
Company chairman Shaikh Mohammed bin Abdulla Al Khalifa said the number of exhibitors was only slightly down from previous years, but blamed a variety of reasons, including the worldwide recession.
'This exhibition is for those who love life, it's perfect, it's as good as it has been, it's strong, still dazzling and you see the jewels as always,' he said. 'There is a global recession and people have their own problems. What happened around the Middle East, in Europe and America - people have their own reasons for not exhibiting, it’s not only one reason. There are many.”
'But the major players are here and will continue to be,' he added.
Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry vice-chairman Abdul Hameed Al Kooheji said despite the unrest in Bahrain, he expected the event to be as successful as ever.
'There were a few exhibitors who didn't show up, but still the major players are here and it's full and going at full speed and it will continue as long as we follow a strategy to attract these people,' he said.
'We at AJM Kooheji Group have received a lot of calls from customers in the Gulf saying they want to come and see what we have here,' Al Kooheji added. 'With the support of the government and people coming from Saudi Arabia, I expect the business to be the same or even increase.'
Al Kooheji said prior to the opening, he thought there might be some difficulties in accessing roads to the exhibition, but was happy to learn that no one had faced any problems. 'I was shocked how smoothly everything had gone for the opening and look forward to other exhibitions that are coming.'
Participants include Breguet, De Beers, Chanel, Chopard, Corum, Harry Winston, Hublot, Omega, Panerai, Patek Phillipe, Piaget, Van Cleef and Arpels and Vacheron Constantin.
Designs by local jewellers will also be spotlighted at a dedicated pavilion of Bahrain jewellers, co-ordinated by Tamkeen.
Bahrain's leading jewellers will also take part, including Bahrain Jewellery Centre, Asia Jewellers, Al Mahmood Pearls, Al Zain, Devji and AJM Kooheji.
The exhibition will open at the BIEC from 4pm to 10pm from until Friday. On Saturday, it will be open from 10am to 1pm and 4pm to 10pm.
Admission is by invitation only. – TradeArabia News Service